Culver-Stockton students spend night in boxes to rally for homeless, raise money for the Madonna House

Melissa Kackley from Culver-Stockton College reaches for another locking tie to connect boxes for her overnight shelter Saturday afternoon at the Hy-Vee on Broadway in Quincy.
Posted: Feb. 16, 2013 6:43 pm Updated: Mar. 3, 2013 12:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

A group of cardboard appliance boxes littered the parking lot Saturday afternoon at the Hy-Vee at 36th and Broadway.

Assembled to resemble a shanty town, the boxes were home to two dozen members of the Delta Upsilon fraternity at Culver-Stockton College who were rallying to raise awareness on homelessness.

With temperatures expected to dip into the 20s Saturday night, the students would get a taste of what peopole who sleep in the elements on a daily basis feel.

Ian Sodawasser, a junior at Culver-Stockton, said the students were prepared for a cold night.

"We brought lots and lots of blankets," Sodawassersaid. "With some of the roofing we put on the boxes, it makes it a lot warmer in there."

Sodawasser said no matter where people live, there are always people affected by homelessness.

"There's always people that don't have a place to live," he said. "I think it's very sad, and I think there's a lot of people that can help and should."

The students set up the camp at 8 a.m. Saturday and will stay there until noon today.

Although their goal is to raise awareness for homelessness, they're also raising for the Madonna House in Quincy, which supports women and children in crisis.

Cindy Grawe, clinical director for Madonna House, said many people in the area classified as homeless live in a shelter or with family or friends.

"Yet there are still people who are living in the elements, as these guys are going to do today, and that's really scary," Grawe said. "We can see how they're shivering in the cold. This happens every day."

She said there is always demand for homeless services.

"We'd like to see it where it is not as great, but right now, with our times and our economic climate, it's really very difficult," she said.

The group had raised more than $400 through donations and sponsorships by Saturday afternoon, an amount expected to climb the longer students remain in the parking lot.

"(People) have been really gracious," Sodawasser said.

People heading to Hy-Vee provided plenty of support, honking as they pulled in off Broadway.

Tyler Hast, Delta Upsilon's philanthropy chairman, said the fraternity has held the homeless rally for more than 20 years.

"I don't think it has ever been as widely publicized as it is right now," he said.

Hast acknowledged that it was quite cold for this year's rally, his first.

"I'm freezing," the freshman music major said. "I need a coat. It's in my box."