NORMAN — Ben Woodruff, 13, is constructing a place to sleep for the evening. His bed is made completely out of cardboard and duct tape and has a sleeping bag inside for warmth.
This is just one of the simulations participants were involved in during Community Action Ministries 10th annual One Night in a Box.
The fundraiser was hosted during nearly 12 hours March 7 through 8 at the University Christian Church, 616 Bud Wilkinson Drive.
Sixteen individuals, ranging from sixth-graders to college students, each donated a minimum of $30. Participants who donated $150 or more were entered into a raffle to receive a $20 gift certificate to a business of their choice. The winner of the raffle, Alysa Hooper, raised $210 for this year’s fundraiser.
The money raised each year goes toward Norman nonprofit agencies that help the homeless. This year, $1,000 was raised to be split between Bridges and Mission Norman.
The Norman Network of Youth Ministers partnered with the nonprofit ministry five years ago to create a fundraiser based on One Homeless Night. This year’s One Night in a Box was promoted by University Christian Church and Community Action Ministries.
The reason for continuing to host the fundraiser is to increase awareness in the community, said Donna Hooper, executive director of CAM.
Currently, nearly 4,400 people are considered homeless in Oklahoma, according to 2013 data collected by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
During the fundraiser, participants learned the types of circumstances that have led to homelessness through a guest speaker who has completed the Bridges program.
Additionally, participants learned ways they can help nonprofit organizations assist the homeless. Hooper hopes participants will learn about the problem of homelessness in their own communities.
Many homeless people cope with mental illness or leaving abusive relationships that lead to homelessness, Hooper said.
“Others could be because of addictions, losing a job or having medical expenses,” she said.