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Overnight Campout Simulates Homelessness
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It has become an annual event fort Escalon High School; one Friday night during the fall when the football team is out of town, students take over the gridiron and turn it into a makeshift homeless camp.

This Friday, Sept. 26, Escalon High School students and those from several other schools in Stockton and the surrounding area will converge at the football field and spend a night in cardboard box homes. The Kids in a Box fundraiser helps to increase awareness about the plight of homelessness and also raises money to benefit the Haven of Peace shelter for women and children in Stockton.

“We’re expecting over 100 kids,” noted Pinder Dosanjh, an Escalon High School teacher who also serves as advisor to the Interact Club, which is coordinating the fundraiser.

Interact is the youth arm of Rotary, and the Escalon Sunrise Rotary is one of the sponsoring organizations for the event as well.

“They make up their houses for the night out of a cardboard box,” Dosanjh said. “They find it’s not easy.”

Students get sponsors for their night in a box, while the local Rotary Club provides chaperones for the overnight activity.

“Last year we raised over $2,000 for Haven of Peace,” Dosanjh added of the successful event.

The Rotary Club also brings in pizza, snacks, and serves the students breakfast on Saturday.

The $2,000 total last year was the most ever raised, Dosanjh added, but he is hoping to reach or exceed that level this year. He noted that a recent visit to the shelter showed how much the funding is needed, with many people utilizing the services provided there.

Students from throughout the San Joaquin County area will begin arriving at Escalon High at 4 p.m. Friday to start setting up their temporary housing. Some go all out with decorations, others stick to more basic models and just make sure they have a roof over their head for the night.

Dosanjh said anyone in the community interested in contributing to the effort can bring donations to the school during the event or contact him at the school, 838-7073 or in Room 7, to donate or for more information.

“They’re up most of the night, they have good, clean fun,” he said of the students.

As far as the Haven of Peace, Dosanjh said the shelter is carrying out important work.

“It’s a good thing they are doing there,” he said.