UCO Students 'Panhandle For Poverty'

Sunday, October 9th 2011, 12:58 pm
By: News 9

Deanne Stein, News9.com

EDMOND, Oklahoma – Students at the University of Central Oklahoma have decided to give up the comforts of their dorm rooms to live on the streets.

It's called "Shack-a-Thon, part of the university's annual Poverty Awareness Week. The students will build temporary houses and shelters out of cardboard boxes along the sidewalks on campus. They will live in these "shacks" 24-hours a day for one week. During that time, they will panhandle for donations.

"Shack-a-thon will expose our students to a lifestyle they are usually very unfamiliar with," said Brandt Smith, assistant director of Central's Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC). "It is a profound transformative learning experience. They will walk away with a whole new appreciation for what they have, and hopefully, a drive to actively help the less fortunate to improve their circumstances."

Groups of five to 10 students will build their shacks using donated cardboard boxes from Target and other local stores, and duct tape provided by the VSLC.

Last year, student teams raised $2,200 through panhandling for Edmond-based nonprofit Breakfast on Boulevard.

Proceeds raised this year will be donated to City Rescue Mission, an Oklahoma City-based nonprofit organization that provides shelter, warm meals, and recovery and health services for the homeless and near-homeless population.

Find out how you can help City Rescue Mission.

Email the UCO if you would like to volunteer during its Poverty Awareness Week.