• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 15s

‘Cardboard City’ fundraiser raises awareness for Mat-Su homeless

By Kate McPherson 11:13 AM July 19, 2014

An exact number of how many people are homeless in Alaska is difficult to calculate. The Mat-Su Borough School District estimates up to 800 children face homelessness. And on any given night, there are 60 to 80 families in the Valley struggling to find shelter, according to Family Promise.

The Wasilla-based organization’s yearly fundraiser – ‘Cardboard City’ – was held Friday night at the Alaska State Fairgrounds. Dozens of participants gathered pledges and built cardboard structures, with the larger goal of raising awareness for the Mat-Su homeless population.

The shelters constructed this year ranged from simple to complex.

“Winging it,” said Tommy. “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing,” said the 18-year-old as he wrestled with duct tape and scissors.

But other participants came prepared. “My dad is a civil engineer,” said Becca Coleman, who brought measurements and a mini model of her planned shelter. “Make it structurally sound,” she said.

It might sound like a fun night of camping, but the significance isn’t lost on Coleman.

“You just never know what circumstance, be it an injury or the economy laying people off, you just never no what moment is going to turn your world upside down,” she said.

The money raised by ‘Cardboard City’ on Friday will help parents who’ve fallen on hard times.

“Over night it happened to us and we had nothing,” said mom of three Katie Bryan, whose husband Devin lost his job in January 2013. “So we were on welfare and were able to stay for a little bit but once the lease was up we had to leave.”

Katie was pregnant with her third child, Leeray.

“We were running out of help, we were in a tight situation,” said Devin Bryan.

With nowhere else to go, the couple turned to Family Promise, who provided the couple and their three children, including the newborn, with private accommodation. The Bryan’s also had help buying diapers, clothing and gas. It was enough for them to get back on their feet, and within two months the family of five were out of the shelter and Devin found work.

“They helped us get car insurance so that we could get a vehicle to go back and forth to work,” said Devin.

“We are back in our own place again, my husband has a good job and I couldn’t ask for anything else,” said Katie.

While Katie and Devin played with their three sons around Cardboard City, Will Sandidge, a junior at Colony High, was part of a group of students that broadcasted live from a ‘studio’ made out of cardboard. Their show – ‘Teen Talk’ – was heard over 89.5FM.

The sleep-out fundraiser ended at 8am Saturday morning.

Latest Stories

  • Sports

    LSU fires head football coach Les Miles

    by Associated Press on Sep 25, 22:49

    Les Miles has finally been done in by one of the frantic finishes that came to define the Mad Hatter’s tenure at LSU. LSU fired Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Sunday, and promoted defensive line coach Ed Orgeron to interim head coach. The moves came less than 24 hours after Miles briefly watched his […]

  • Sports

    Baseball mourns death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez

    by CBS/AP on Sep 25, 22:42

    Miami Marlins players have gathered at the team’s ballpark to grieve together following the death of teammate Jose Fernandez. The 24-year-old pitcher and two of his friends were killed when their boat smashed into a jetty off Miami Beach early today. Authorities say the 32-foot boat was demolished when it hit the rocks at full speed. […]

  • News

    Mall victims include teen, probation officer, Boeing worker

    by Associated Press on Sep 25, 18:53

    Five people died in the shooting at a Macy’s store in a mall north of Seattle. Authorities do not plan to make their identities public until Tuesday, but details about three of the victims have been reported by Washington state media. Here’s what is known about them: ___ SARAI LARA: The 16-year-old high school sophomore […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Grass roots’ group works to make Hatcher Pass ski area a reality

    by Eric Ruble on Sep 25, 18:25

    At mile 10.6 of Hatcher Pass Road, one can see the birth of Alaska’s newest ski area. For decades, groups have tried to bring a ski area to the Valley. Now, one team of volunteers is hoping to make it a reality. “I have two little kids and I’m a big skier, and I would […]

  • News

    Charlotte mayor lifts curfew on the city after days of protests

    by CBS/AP on Sep 25, 18:12

    The mayor of Charlotte has lifted the curfew on the city after days of protests over the killing of a black man by police. There have been protests every day since 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott was shot to death by Charlotte police on Tuesday. In a statement Sunday evening, Mayor Jennifer Roberts says that effective immediately the […]

  • Sports

    Arnold Palmer dies at 87, made golf popular for masses

    by Associated Press on Sep 25, 17:46

    Arnold Palmer brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner’s touch. At ease with both presidents and the golfing public, and on a first-name basis with both, “The King,” died Sunday in Pittsburgh. He was 87. Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, confirmed that Palmer died Sunday […]

  • News

    Cedar Rapids residents evacuate homes ahead of flooding in Iowa

    by CBS/AP on Sep 25, 16:07

    Residents are leaving low-lying areas of Cedar Rapids, adhering to a request by authorities to clear out by 8 p.m. Sunday due to the risk of flooding from the rising Cedar River. The river crested Saturday night in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, which are about 55 miles upstream from Cedar Rapids, which is Iowa’s second-largest city, with about […]

  • News

    Family heirlooms “fill vast silences” at new African American museum

    by CBS News on Sep 25, 13:14

    At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, thousands of great Americans are represented by priceless family heirlooms, donated to help them museum to share their experiences. Among them is the freedom paper donated by 83-year-old Elaine Thompson. It belonged to her great, great, great grandfather, Joseph Trammell of Loudon County, Virginia, reports […]