Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity spent 48 consecutive hours living in cardboard boxes to raise awareness and fundraise to fight local homelessness.
The event was held April 15th through 17th in the Oval of. The event is known as “Project: Homeless.” Members hosted activities throughout the day to get passerby’s attention.
“We continue to do Project: Homeless because we can see that homelessness is a very prevalent issue in our town and this is our way of trying to combat these conditions,” said Jack Perryman, sophomore in manufacturing engineering technology who serves as the philanthropy chair for PIKE. “I hope that the campus enjoys our stay on the Oval, and we have already been thanked for what we do by several homeless individuals.”
Pi Kappa Alpha has hosted this event every spring for the past six years. The fraternity’s philanthropy, or charitable project, is to serve homeless people in the area.
“We began hosting this event years ago as a way to help out with the growing poverty and homelessness around the Pittsburg area,” Perryman said. “We sleep in cardboard boxes for 48 hours straight to raise money and collect canned goods, clothing and toiletries to give to the less fortunate.”
All proceeds, cash, coats, and canned goods, raised by the event will be split with the Gorilla Assistance Pantry and Wesley House.
“With the closure of the C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Shelter, the citizens of Pittsburg are at risk, now more than ever of having nowhere to go if times get hard.” said Rodkey Kimlin, alumnus of PIKE and creator of Project: Homeless.
The C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Shelter was an family emergency shelter that closed in 2014 following a cut in Community Services Block Grant funding.
This is not the only community service project Pi Kappa Alpha has been part of recently.
“We work as hard as we can to help our community,” Perryman said. “… Just last week, (we hosted) a blood drive on campus.”
Last year, PIKE raised $584 for Wesley House through Project: Homeless. This year, they hope to increase the amount to at least $750, as well as over 100 canned goods.
“The most rewarding part of hosting Project: Homeless is handing the check to the Wesley house and carrying the food we have collected into the pantry,” Perryman said. “… Knowing that some people will be able to get a healthy meal that day.”
The Wesley House is an outreach program through the First United Methodist Church of Pittsburg and serves the Pittsburg community with spiritual and physical assistance, offering in-house social work, medical clinics, food assistance, household items and dinners for the public once a week.
“Project: Homeless was started as a way to not only give back to the community, but also shed light on a serious issue that faces many of Pittsburg’s residents,” Kimlin said. “The least we can do is try and support our neighbors by donating to The Wesley House.”