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Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018
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Two homeless simulations encourage empathy

Anyone who has ever wondered how it feels to be homeless may voluntarily sleep in a cardboard box at one of two upcoming homeless-simulation/fundraising events in Brandon: the seventh annual 24 Hours 2015, for youths, sponsored by Zach Bonner’s Little Red Wagon Foundation, and the second annual Box Car City 2015 for families and youth groups, sponsored by Family Promise of Greater Brandon.

24 Hours 2015 is a kid-run event, during which, for 24 hours, people 12 to 21 years of age will eat, sleep and play in the parking lot of Best Buy, 116 Grand Regency Blvd. It will begin at noon April 17 and end at noon April 18. Adults 21 and older may volunteer.

Bonner’s event will include a best-decorated box contest, a screening of “Little Red Wagon” — the feature-length film about Bonner’s 2007 walk from Tampa to Tallahassee — games that promote leadership, speakers from local service organizations and activities such as filling backpacks to give to homeless youths.

“It doesn’t matter how young or old, how much money you have, you just have to have the desire to do something. And if you do, you can change the world,” said Bonner.

The cost for 24 Hours 2015 is $24, plus a ticketing fee, at www.eventbrite.com; search for 24 Hours 2015, Brandon. Proceeds will go to the Little Red Wagon Foundation. Students who participate will earn 12 service hours for school. For details, visit the Little Red Wagon Foundation on Facebook or www.lrwf.org.

Family Promise’s Box Car City will run from 3 p.m. May 2 until 7 a.m. May 3 on the Novemberfest field at Nativity Catholic Church, 705 E. Brandon Blvd. Participants pay to sleep in boxes or their cars, and prizes will be awarded for creativity.

A juggler and a mix of local bands playing everything from classic rock to Christian hard rock will entertain, and there will be games and food until a 10 p.m. lights out.

“Make a commitment to spend the night in a cardboard box, a simple tent or even in your car to raise awareness of homelessness in our community,” said Kathy Brogli, executive director of Family Promise of Greater Brandon.

Through the help of 12 local churches, Family Promise offers temporary sleeping space, meals, acceptance, support and coordination of services to help homeless families return to self-sufficiency.

The cost to sleep at Box Car City is $20 per person in a box or tent, $50 per person in a car and $17.50 per person in a group of 10 or more. Admission for evening spectators (who are not spending the night) is $15 per person. Non-participating sponsors may have their names displayed on a virtual car for $30. Registration may be completed online at boxcarcity2015.eventbrite.com. Ticketing fees will be added to ticket prices.

Donations from people who can’t spend the night are welcome, and volunteers are needed.

For information or to volunteer, visit www.FamilyPromiseBrandon.org or email [email protected]

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