A Box Full Of Pain This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   For many years now I have played an active role in my community. I was recently offered the opportunity to participate in a homeless night in a neighboring town to help with the crisis taking place in Rwanda.

You might be thinking, Well how could a homeless night possibly help people who live half-way around the world? The answer to that is quite simple. During one weekend at our church, our Youth Ministry talked with the parish at every mass. We explained our purpose for homeless night and asked for donations. Our plan was to go to Houlton (the neighboring town) on a Friday evening and spend the night in a cardboard box with no food and only a blanket. This would give us a taste of the pain and suffering homeless must face day in and day out.

The parishioners were very generous and we raised almost $1000 to send to Rwanda.

Arriving in Houlton that Friday evening, I was a bit apprehensive about what the night held in store for me. It was the first time I had ever slept out under the stars. Though I was in good company, I felt very alone inside, apart from the world.

Poems had been written about people's views or experiences with homelessness and as they were read, I was filled with understanding. Glancing up at the stars I knew there was no reason for me to feel alone. For that night, as I slept in my cardboard box, millions of people were doing the same. The only difference being that I had a home to go to and they didn't.

This event was one of the best learning experiences of my life because I got a taste of what being homeless is really like. It certainly is no barrel of laughs. That night was cold and drizzly and many of us suffered from lack of sleep. There is no way I would be able to survive on one hour's sleep a night, but some people have no choice. Hunger also posed a problem.

Before the stars had all disappeared, I chose one and made a wish for all the homeless and starving people on the world. I know that somewhere out there beneath the starry sky, there was another making the same wish, hoping someone was thinking of them and saying a prayer. fl


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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