‘Cardboard Village’ to simulate homeless living experience

By Elyse Rectenwald

On any given night in Kentucky, more than 700,000 people may be reduced to sleeping on  the street, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development.

The homeless are a part of every community, but few probably know what it is truly like to be homeless.

The Center for Community Outreach will host Cardboard Village starting at 5 p.m. on Friday at Haggin Field, where students will set up a makeshift shelter for the evening and stay until 10 a.m. the next morning.

The event is a part of National Hunger and Homeless Week, is open to UK students who sign up in teams of five by Wednesday in the CCO.

Students will be provided with cardboard and duct tape to construct what they will sleep in for the night.

UK joins more than 500 universities for Hunger and Homelessness Week.

Sara Antel, director of Education & Advocacy for CCO, said that there will be incentives for whichever student organization has the most teams. Each participant will receive a $5 gift card to Kennedy’s Bookstore and the Student Organization will receive a gift card to Tin Roof Restaurant.

“I think it’s the right way to end the week to emphasize what exactly it feels like to not have a home or bed to sleep in,” Antel said.

Though students are allowed to bring blankets and dress warmly, they are asked not to bring any food. CCO volunteers will be simulating a real soup kitchen to make the experience more realistic, Antel said.

Kayla Nichelson, director of Helping Hands at CCO and a site volunteer for Cardboard Village said that volunteers have planned scavenger hunts and other activities to keep students interacting throughout the night.

“This event is a great opportunity for students to put themselves in the shoes of the homeless,” Nichelson said.

IF YOU GO

What: Cardboard Village

When: Friday at 5 p.m. to Saturday at 10 p.m. (Teams must register by Wednesday)

Where: Haggin Field

Admission: Free