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(Posted November 29, 2000)

It?s freezing cold. It?s pitch dark. And large cardboard boxes are lined up on Juniata College?s 18th Street brick walkway.

That will be the scene at the fifth annual Juniata College Habitat For Humanity Shack-a-Thon from 8 p.m., Dec. 2 to 8 a.m., Dec. 3. Students will collect pledges and camp out in cardboard refrigerator and clothes dryer boxes to raise awareness that not every person has the good fortune to sleep in a warm bed each night. About 40-50 students are expected to participate, said Robyn Eastwood, Juniata Habitat for Humanity fund-raising chair.

Students generally bring pillows, sub-zero temperature sleeping bags and wool blankets to outfit their boxes, and playing cards and Frisbees to pass the long, cold night.

The night brings enthusiasm for the cause. But the cold morning after the long cold night brings with it the realization that people actually live like that, Eastwood said. The chill, even with all the pillows, sleeping bags and blankets, makes participants think about how cold it must be for those without the luxuries, she said.

"It?s always nice to know you can go home to a warm shower," Eastwood said.

The goal of Juniata?s Habitat for Humanity Shack-a-Thon is to raise $3,000 that will be used to help fund the 2001 Collegiate Challenge spring break trip to Beattyville, Kentucky. About 32 students, representing the largest group ever, from Juniata College will attend the national event next spring that involves building housing for those in need throughout the country. This year?s overall fund-raising goal is $10,000. In addition to funding the spring break trip, some of this money will also be contributed to local affiliates and Habitat International.

Habitat for Humanity is an international organization that brings families and communities in need together with volunteers and resources to build decent, affordable housing and eliminate substandard housing and homelessness. Habitat houses are sold with no profit made; homeowners contribute "sweat equity" and housing payments are recycled to build additional houses. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization that welcomes volunteers from all faiths who are committed to Habitat?s goal of eliminating poverty housing. Since its creation 22 years ago, Habitat for Humanity has provided safe, affordable shelter for more than 400,000 people.

Juniata Habitat thanks C.H. Miller Hardware Co. for donating the large boxes for the event.

Those who are interested in contributing to the cause of Juniata?s Habitat for Humanity can write to: JC Habitat for Humanity, 887 Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa. 16652. For more information, check out Juniata?s Habitat for Humanity Web site at http://www.juniata.edu/clubs/habitat.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.