Staff Report

“Spend the night in a box?” As she laughed, Tina said, “I wish I had had a box to sleep in at night; the best I could ever do was get under awnings.” Tina was homeless six years ago and now holds two jobs and has a roof over her head. “There is a story to be told and I want it told,” she said. She was speaking about the number of homeless people in our own backyard.

Family Promise of Brandon (FPGB) will hold its third Annual Box Car City on the grounds at First Presbyterian Church, located at 121 Carver Ave. in Brandon on Friday, June 10. Set up will begin at 3 p.m. The meal will start at 5 p.m. followed by a program at 6 p.m. The event will end on Saturday, June 11 around 7 a.m. Individuals can donate at least $25 to experience snoozing in a box for a night on the grounds of the church.

Executive Director of FPGB Edwina Reddick said, “Box Car City was started to raise awareness of what it is like to have no safe place to sleep, and now FPGB and its partner churches provide a safe and comfortable place for homeless families.”

The reason for Box Car City is to give people a one night experience of what our homeless families experience on a regular basis. Electronic devices are strongly discouraged, except for group sponsors with their telephones. It is not meant to be entertaining although there will be entertainment there. The focus is on the experience.

According to Reddick, “Families should plan to attend together and talk about their experience before and afterwards. This will cause ungrateful teens to realize how blessed they are with all of their creature comforts.” 

Boxes will be decorated, but again the attention is not on the decorations. Most homeless families don’t have the luxury of decorating their outside dwellings be it in a park or in their car, they don’t have the luxury to decorate it and make it look good.  

FPGB opened its doors May 2014 and since then has served almost a hundred people, “80 percent of which were children,” said Reddick. “This program brings together area congregations to provide temporary homes, and facilities to provide space during the day for case management.”

Early registration (by Friday, June 3) is appreciated for food preparation purposes. To register, contact Reddick at 681-6170 or executivedirectorfpgb@gmail.com.

For more information on Family Promise of Brandon, visit www.familypromisebrandon.org.