Box City

While most of us will never know what it's
like to be without a home, a group of
students from West Jefferson Elementary
School in Ashe County gets a firsthand
look into the life of a homeless person. The
fifth grade spends one night in cardboard
boxes, with only a hamburger bun to eat.
During the night, teachers and parents wake the students up and force them to

move (much like the experiences of real-life homeless people).

The following morning, the students board a bus and head to Samaritan Ministries, getting their first nutritious meal since the day before. For three years, the Box City program has taught boys and girls what it's like to do without. The fifth grade teachers, Sonya Vannoy, Laura Bowers and JoAnne Reavis, ask the students their feelings and thoughts about the night. Their moving tribute speaks volumes about life without a home, and the wisdom children possess.

The fifth grade teachers, Principal Bobby Ashley, and Guidance Counselor Cindy Price, administer the Box City program.

-2:09 a.m.
"I am very stopped up and want to go home and get a good night's sleep. My box is very small and uncomfortable. The bread is very dry and doesn't satisfy me."

"I am really cold."

-3:00 a.m.
"I don't hear anymore talking, but I do hear a few katydids in the distance."

"My left shoulder feels like it is dislocated. Homeless people have hard lives. Boxes are hard to sleep in."

"I am thankful for my home, family and friends. I would do anything for the homeless."

"The sound of pots and pans woke me up."

"I am kind of worried about visiting the homeless shelter. Will they think we are rude for being there?"

"I feel okay but I know that real homeless people would be mad about getting kicked out of their box. I also know they would be tired and cold."

"Last night my hamburger bun got ants all over it and worst of all, I couldn't sleep."

"I am very, very mad. This is like boot camp."

"I think I know a little more about how the homeless live and feel."

"It didn't feel good when they kicked us out of their boxes. I woke up in the middle of the night and I was freezing."

-7:25 a.m.
"I want to take a bath and brush my teeth with toothpaste. I lost my socks so I have to do without any and my shoes feel really cruddy."

"I already feel homeless. I'm glad I'm not."

"I will be glad that I have a house."

"I am so tired."

"I am very hungry."

"I think it will be sad and upsetting to see people who don't have a home to go to every day."

"I think the homeless shelter will have lots of rooms."

"I think the shelter will look like a huge log cabin."

"I am glad our class can do this project."

"My back is sore from sleeping on concrete and every time the bus bounces, my stomach hurts."

"I loved the lunch."

"The lunch was good."

"I felt bad that the homeless people had to wait for us to get done."

"I am in the bus. We got to tour the shelter for about one hour. After that, we had lunch. We had spaghetti, apples, salad, toast, green beans and doughnuts."

"The homeless shelter was not anything like I had imagined. It was nice. They had flowers on the table."

"I felt guilty about eating before the actual homeless people."

"I think we ate first because we were guests. It made me sad because we are not homeless and we have food. I know they must have felt mad and hungry."

-Reflections from last years' Box City

"I'll remember the rain beating on my box and getting a little cold."

"This project changed the way I feel about things, especially the homeless."
"We should make signs in capital letters that say, HELP THE HOMELESS."

"I learned that when a homeless person lays down to sleep, someone will probably tell them to move somewhere else."

"After Box City, I'm positive I don't want to be homeless, but sleeping in a box for one night was fun. I'm sure homeless people don't think it's fun. To put it plainly, homeless people have it tough."

"It's sad to know there are so many homeless people."

"I learned a lot. It would be bad to be homeless. I learned that homeless people are very nice and decent. Visiting the homeless shelter was something I will never forget."

"The world is big enough for all of us, and it is also big enough for all of us to have a home."

"There are two things I will remember. First, the people at the shelter were very nice and treated everyone as a guest. The second is the guilt I felt eating the homeless people's food."

"After sleeping in my own bed, I am glad I am not homeless. I am grateful for my bed and my home. Passing all of them at lunch made me feel bad because they should have gone first."

"Box City taught me to be thankful for what I have."

"Since the homeless people are so cold, hungry and thirsty, I am going to pray for them."


Samaritan Ministries
1243 Patterson Avenue
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Phone: 336-748-1962
Fax: 336-748-8207
Sonjia Kurosky Executive Director
E-mail Us!

Click to learn more about Opt Software!