Fundraiser promotes awareness around homelessness

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — You might see a lot of cardboard boxes around downtown tonight. It’s part of One Winter Night.

It’s a fundraiser for two homeless shelters in town. Organizers strategically choose this time of year because they are some of the coldest nights in our area. There around about 300 box-dwellers downtown. Those are volunteers who will be staying in boxes from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. All they have to stay warm is a cardboard box, blankets and what they’re wearing.

Organizers say tonight’s event is meant to give volunteers an idea of what its like to be homeless, but it’s still nothing like the real thing.

“Take the simulation that we have here, and dial it back a few more notches. I mean, imagine not having the box. Imagine not having four or five layers. Imagine not having three blankets and two pillows, and then I think you really start to feel what our friends are feeling,” said CU at Home Executive Director Rob Dolhaus.

The fundraising goal tonight is $350,000. Its higher this year because they are partnering with Austin’s Place as well. That’s a shelter for homeless women. Their goal is to together bring back year-round men’s and women’s emergency shelter by November 1. To donate, head here. Contributions will be accepted for another two weeks following One Winter Night.

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