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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Sep 07, 2017

Family Promise of Monmouth County’s Eighth Annual Cardboard Box City

By Lori Draz 

On Friday, September 15, more than 100 teens and families will leave the comfort of their cozy beds at home and sleep in Cardboard Box City at the grounds of Monmouth Church of Christ, 312 Hance Avenue in Tinton Falls. Cardboard Box City is a very popular and distinctly unusual event, sponsored by Family Promise of Monmouth County to raise awareness, funds, and sensitivity to the plight of the homeless. This is the eighth Cardboard Box City being conducted by Family Promise of Monmouth County, the only non-profit organization specifically helping shelter homeless Monmouth County families. Last year’s event raised over $30,000.

“We are thrilled with the level of participation at our largest fundraiser every year,” says Family Promise of Monmouth County Board of Trustee President Elaine Young. “Over the past 16 years, we have partnered with our congregations and like-minded organizations, and helped families move from hopelessness and homelessness to hope and homes they can call their own. Unfortunately, affordable housing continues to be out of reach for many hardworking families, and we have had to regretfully turn away families due to lack of space in our current day center. We are eager move to the grounds of the former Fort Monmouth complex, where we can provide more services to help families. We are the only Monmouth County emergency shelter. While we provide much-needed services, our ultimate goal is to make our services unnecessary and eradicate homelessness in Monmouth County.”

The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) has granted a 99-year land/building lease of Building 501 on the old Fort Monmouth property. Valued at approximately $500,000, this 2,800-square-foot facility will serve as their new Day Center. Maintaining this building will cost less than Family Promise’s current rental costs in Aberdeen. The overall target for their Building 501 Fundraising Campaign is $125,000. Renovations began in August.

Cardboard Box City campers will include middle and high school students, faith-based youth groups, 4-H and scouting groups, as well as congregations of all denominations from throughout the area. Each participant will raise $100 or more in pledges to spend the night in their hand-crafted cardboard boxes.

The evening begins at 5:00 p.m. as campers set up a residence to withstand weather. They stand in a soup and bread line for dinner and hear guest speakers, live music, and enjoy kids’ activities. The event concludes at 6:00 a.m. the next morning with a simple breakfast, followed by dismantling the city and recycling the boxes.

For more information on how your group can participate or about the organization, services, and donations, visit