Overnight temperatures on Friday night into Saturday morning dipped to the low 50s.
Not bad for late summer, but a little chilly if you are forced to sleep outside.
For dozens of area students – including a sizeable contingent from Escalon – they chose to be ‘forced’ to stay outside in the elements, getting just a taste of what it might be like to be homeless for a night.
While the Cougar football team was on the road, members of the Escalon Interact Club gathered with fellow students from other San Joaquin County schools, EHS hosting the annual ‘Kids in a Box’ fundraiser at Engel Field. Interact is the youth organization of the Escalon Sunrise Rotary Club.
The idea, noted organizers, is to have the kids craft makeshift shelters out of cardboard boxes, doing the best they can to make an overnight ‘home.’
Students get pledges for the overnight event, chaperones oversee activities and there are donations of food from local businesses that help keep the students fed. Music, activities and more make it a fun event, but one that still carries a somber message.
Money raised through the Kids in a Box goes to the Haven of Peace women and children’s shelter in San Joaquin County, and Interact advisor, EHS teacher Bupinder Dosanjh said that the shelter uses the donations to purchase a variety of needed items. The shelter is a safe haven for women and their children in crisis, whether it be from a domestic violence situation or homelessness.
“We raised $2086 and all of the money will go to the shelter,” Dosanjh said.
This year’s event included a couple of middle school students from Salida, though the majority were high school students. A large group of Edison High School students has made the trek to Escalon for the past few years and participants agreed that bunking down on the football field for one night, even if a little uncomfortable, is for a good cause and worth the time and effort.
Dosanjh said the wake-up call came early on Saturday morning, with the students rousted about 7 a.m. to begin tearing down their shelters. After breakfast and clearing away the cardboard and rolling up the sleeping bags, they were off the school property by roughly 8 a.m.