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Box Kids Raise Funds, Awareness
They didn't really get a good night's sleep but they did raise some money for those in need.

Several dozen students from host Escalon High School and Edison High of Stockton made the area under a goalpost at Engel Field their home for the night on Friday, putting together makeshift shelters with cardboard boxes. They joined forces for the 'Kids in a Box' fundraiser to benefit the Haven of Peace shelter in French Camp.

"This is all about how kids are supposed to play in a box, not live in one," said junior Thomas Drewrey, settling in to his 'room' at the end of a box he was sharing with some friends for the night. "I'd like to see how it is to spend a night in here."

Senior Amanda Garcia was helping decorate a multi-wing cardboard home, with several friends also working together on that one and each having their own room, as they put several boxes together to form a 'Kid Castle.'

Garcia said participating in the fundraising project is part of her community service requirement for her AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, class at the high school.

"It's just a learning experience," she added of living in a box, if only for one night. "It's to bring awareness to yourself about it."

Escalon High School's Interact Club, the youth arm of Rotary, sponsored the Kids in a Box and this is the second year that it has been hosted at the school. For the second year in a row, Interact Club members from Edison High in neighboring Stockton also came to participate.

Interact Club President Taylor Finch was busy on Friday, making sure houses were being constructed and everybody had everything they needed.

"Kids, teens, adults, just watching everyone working together on their boxes is fun," she said. "There's a real feeling of community."

Participants were able to gather pledges and there were also several local sponsors, from businesses to individuals, that helped put on the event. This is the third year Finch has participated, both years at Escalon and one before that when she attended in Stockton and decided she wanted to bring the event to her own school.

"We're able to get different walks of life together," Finch pointed out. "It's nice to see everybody helping out."

This year, there were bands to entertain the kids on Friday night, games for prizes and a competition for the 'most creative' box design. Winning that was a team from Edison, which had a car theme for their temporary home.

"I think it was very successful," Finch added after the event concluded. "The bands played until 10 p.m., that was something new that we didn't have last year, we had a relay race and a few tag games."

Senior Ellia Miller was taking part this year for the first time, having joined the Interact Club.

"It's pretty sad," she said of knowing people - including kids - are sometimes forced to call a box home, "but I'm glad we do stuff like this and help people that do have to live like this."