After a two-year hiatus, Cardboard City will be back in town this month. A partnership between Humble Area Assistance Ministries (HAAM), Family Promise of Lake Houston, and Humble ISD, the purpose of this fundraising event is to raise awareness and support for Humble-area families who are homeless and enduring tough times.
Cardboard City is a service-learning opportunity open to all Humble ISD middle and high school students. This supervised, overnight event will be held Saturday, March 21-22 at Turner Stadium in Humble. It will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday and will end at 6 a.m. Sunday. The evening will be full of meaningful and engaging activities, including concerts and live performances by local bands, exercises led by Camp Gladiator and stations to build topic awareness through simulation of a variety of homeless experiences, such as a model of a car where a family might live.
In addition, Family Promise will be on hand to speak to students about what life is like for the homeless and there will be testimonials from families that have experienced homelessness. After the evening’s activities have concluded, all attendees will spend the night on Turner Stadium field in a cardboard house of their own creation. By constructing this makeshift shelter community, the hope is to raise awareness of a homeless issue here at home and challenge students’ pre-conceived notions of what homelessness looks like.
In reality, per Family Promise, the average age of homeless individuals in the Humble area is 9 years old and there are roughly 1,100 students registered with Humble ISD that have been identified as homeless. More than half of those who receive services from Family Promise are younger than 5 years old.
Committee members for Cardboard City include Jen Karlstrom, Disaster Recovery Behavioral Health, HAAM; Cathy Schrof, volunteer coordinator, HAAM; Jessica Penney, coordinator, Family Promise; Francesca Newman, counselor, Bear Branch Elementary; Matthew Smith, Elementary Counseling and Behavioral Services; and Marilyn Mann, HAAM board member. Currents sponsors of the event are Strawbridge United Methodist Church, Kingwood Pines Hospital and Waste Management.
Early registration for Cardboard City is encouraged; the fee is $25 and will increase to $35 after March 17. In addition to entertainment and activities, Cardboard City attendees will receive a sack dinner, an event T-shirt, and a to-go breakfast. All registration is done online at fplh.org/cardboard-city.
Once students submit their registration and payment, they will receive an email with the event schedule and a pledge sheet to raise additional funds. The more money they raise, the more cardboard they can “buy” for their overnight shelter. Students are also encouraged to form small teams of five or less; there will be prizes awarded for the most impressive cardboard dwellings.