Homelessness, even on cold winter nights, is the stark reality for too many people in St. Louis County.
In fact, the Point in Time Homeless Count conducted last January showed 178 people were unsheltered homeless in the County, and 32 of those were youth without a parent or guardian. It’s believed the real numbers are even higher because it’s difficult to document all of the people who avoid shelters and instead sleep in a vehicle or bounce between homes of family and friends.
To help raise awareness about homelessness in our region, as well as to collect donations for organizations that serve people who are homeless, students in the Youth in Action program will be spending a night outside sleeping in cardboard boxes. The Cardboard Box City event will begin November 17 at 5 p.m. at the Biwabik Pavilion, 100 5th Avenue South in Biwabik. It’s taking place as part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
The night will include constructing the cardboard shelters; discussions about poverty, homelessness and contributing factors; making blankets that will be donated to people in need; and other activities in addition to sleeping outside. An estimated 100 students will be taking part, including 40 students from Mesabi East, as well as others from South Ridge, Cherry, Eveleth, Virginia, Mt. Iron-Buhl, Chisholm, Hibbing, Northwoods, Northeast Range and Ely.
This is the third year that Youth in Action have held a Cardboard Box City event. Money raised in past years has been donated to Project Elf, Katherine’s House and the Aurora Food Shelf.
Youth in Action (formerly Iron Range Youth in Action) is a youth service organization that brings together students from 14 schools across St. Louis County. Its mission is to promote youth leadership and bring positive change to northern Minnesota.