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Written by Bobby Neal.  Media by Taylor Neal.

Students prepare their temporary homes
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Not many people know what Shack-A-Thon is. It began about 20 years ago with the intention of raising awareness for affordable housing in Wake County. Over the years, Shack-a-Thon has raised over a quarter of a million dollars for families in need! This took place on Greenville’s campus and consisted of several cardboard boxes, a few trash bags, and tape. Shack-A-Thon participants were required to live in boxes for a total of 30 hours and were given cards with living conditions and issues they might face if they were actually homeless.

Morgan Rich commented on her experience throughout Shack-A-Thon:

Facing different things such as your sleeping bag being stolen and being forced to choose between spending 50 dollars on a new one or spending the same amount on a tutor for class is very hard. Making a choice between being comfortable while sleeping and getting through school is difficult and highlights the struggles of real homeless people going through the same things.”

A student reflecting in her Shak
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The experience opened her eyes to the challenges people face and reminded her not judge them for it. During Rich’s 30 hours of homelessness, she faced real life situations that helped her appreciate what she has. Afterward, she had a much better understanding and respect for those who do not have homes.

Rich commented on how she is more willing to encourage and help others after doing Shak-A-Thon:

Before this, I struggled to identify with people who were homeless so I was slow to help. It wasn’t because I judged them, but because I wasn’t been exposed to something that extreme and didn’t know what it was like.”

In Rich’s hometown, Peoria, there is a homeless shelter. Rich wants to get involved and help out to show them change is possible and there is a God who cares.

Shak-a-thon participants are supplied with pizza by fellow students
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Rich wants to do Shak-A-Thon again because of the eye-opening experience and she encourages everyone to attend the next event. As college students, we are privileged in ways we don’t necessarily realize. Relating to people who have less and comparing their life problems to yours can help you appreciate your blessings.

Greenville does this every year, so be sure to attend the next event!


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