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Jan 242014
 

Kids make the best of their cardboard "home" in 17 - 19 degree temperatures.

Kids make the best of their cardboard “home” in 17 – 19 degree temperatures.

Orange Congregational Church Pilgrim Fellowship Sr. Youth Group spent the night out in the cold for its annual fundraiser for Youth United of Habitat for Humanity of Coastal Fairfield County this weekend, Friday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. through Saturday, Jan. 25 at 8 a.m.

The “Freeze Out” entails building a Shanty Town of cardboard boxes outside in front of the church, then staying inside the makeshift housing to experience living outside on a cold January night.

There were at least 16 teenagers and five adults who rotated in shifts throughout the night.

K-9 Officer Mike Kosh talks to some of the youth inside the church hall.

K-9 Officer Mike Kosh talks to some of the youth inside the church hall.

While some kids spent time outside, the other kids were in the warm church basement enjoying a full evening of activities and presentations.  Some of the activities included Orange Police Officer Mike Koch with his K-9 partner, Max; a guest speaker from Columbus House; and students from Sacred Heart University who talked about their Habitat for Humanity Mission Trip.

The purpose of this activity is two-fold:  1) to experience even for a short time what it would be like to be homeless and living out in the cold during winter and 2) to raise money for their Habitat for Humanity efforts. 

The teenagers have helped out with Habitat for Humanity for years – this year by raising enough money to start to work on a

This year's shanty town is sturdy and pretty roomy inside.

This year’s shanty town is sturdy and pretty roomy inside.

3rdYouth United house in Bridgeport.  Youth United Build involves youth from 5 to 25 years old. 

It gets very cold during those dark hours of the night so any positive reinforcement was welcome. Residents stopped by, dropped off treats, chatted with the kids about their experiences and shivered along with them.