Organizers said they were extremely pleased with the turnout and participation in the second annual Cardboard City fundraiser for The ARK. The area homeless shelter for women and families began the event last year, but it’s about more than just being a fundraiser.
“It’s a way to raise money for The ARK , a fun way, but it’s also a way to let people experience, just for three hours, what it might be like to have to stay outside for those folks that live on the street and don’t have a shelter to go to or a warm place to be,” explained ARK founder and event organizer Jane Motsinger. “I just want to thank the community for just having a good time and coming out and doing this and for all the volunteers for doing this.”
This year 32 volunteers created mock houses out of cardboard at Elkin Municipal Park which were to serve as their home for a few hours on a chilly November evening. By raising $500 the volunteers could leave early or they had to stay in their cardboard homes until 8 p.m.
Motsinger said that this year’s participants went all out in creating their cardboard homes. From a church with a steeple to a hobbit home, there were some unique cardboard creations on display.
“People really got into it this year with their boxes,” Motsinger said. “Last year we were pretty pitiful to be honest.”
Despite that, Motsinger said last year’s fundraiser brought in $20,000 and this year’s event was on track to raise even more.
Allen Parsons, pastor of Abstract Church, had gone all out to create his cardboard home for the night. He said the event was not only for a great cause, but a good opportunity to fellowship with the community at large.
“There’s just something that comes in unity when people can gather, I think that’s good for our community, but too, the cause is awesome,” Parsons said.
Abstract Church has partnered with The ARK for several events and Parsons said they had seen firsthand the need in the community.
“There’s so much need. There’s so many that go to bed hungry. There’s so many that don’t have a place to stay and I think the biggest thing I wish we could do is give them more opportunities. I wish we could get it to where it expands even more,” he said.
Faith Mayberry, who works for The ARK, had her grandchildren out at the event. Autumn and Mollie Longworth had a lovely cardboard princess house. Mayberry said she thought it was important for the children to learn at an early age about the importance of helping those in need.
“They’re fortunate, but there’ so many that are less fortunate,” she said.
Kasey Nowalk, who had one of the most unique cardboard houses at the event — modeled after a Hobbit hole from the well-known J.R. Tolkien books, also said she thought it was an important event to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness.
Nowalk works at the Elkin library, which also did some events earlier this month focusing on the issue of homelessness.
“I was excited to do it,” Nowalk said of Cardboard City. “There’s just a big need to be aware that everyone deserves a comfortable place to live. It’s a part of our safety, it’s a part of our well being. I think its important to be aware of that and realizing that we can do a lot, whether it’s donating money or just talking to people about the issues.”
Parsons summed up the feel of Cardboard City and how the event is all about coming together for the common good.
“When we can set aside our differences, if we can separate what divides us and get behind what unites us, for us [at Abstract Church] sure, that’s the love of Christ, but overall that’s just overall human good,” Parsons said. “We can serve one another and if we can come together, it’s good for our community period, but it’s good for those who need it.”
To donate to The ARK visit www.thearkelkin.org or call 336-527-1637.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.