For three years, Concordia University Wisconsin has helped host an event called Shantytown, which took place Oct. 2-3. This event helped raise money for Habitat for Humanity while also doing service projects throughout the community.
Board member of Habitat for Humanity and the Ozaukee Chapter of Thrivent Diana Eggold brought up the idea of doing the Shantytown event four years ago. Although it was hosted by CUW, a variety of people attended the event.
“We have roughly a 50/50 split in those who attend. We have drawn high school youth from not only local churches but also from Oconomowoc, and Fond du Lac.Our first year we had about 23 CUW students and it has grown every years since. This year we had about 74 students involved,” Eggold said.
Campus ministry assistant for CUW Nichole Haas said that although the number of people who attended was great, it wasn’t about the number of people who attended, but the quality of the event and the message was delivered to the people attended.
“The message we hoped to deliver is that homelessness is not shameful. It can happen to anyone.Beyond sleeping in the Shanty’s, we also participated in service projects which allowed us to reach out to those that may not be living in the best conditions.This was just another way for us to ‘Love our Neighbors as Ourself’,” Haas said.
Planning for the event took much longer and involved more planning than one would think.
“This event began its planning in January where we met together and organized thoughts and ideas on how to improve the event. We sent out a mailing to many churches encouraging their participation. There were donations that were collected, funds raised, shanties built, and fun to be had. In the end everything came together very well,” Haas said.
Eggold agreed with Haas when talking about all of the planning that went into this event.
“From finding activities to do to cardboard suppliers and food, there is a lot that goes into this. The publicity is sent out to churches all over south eastern Wisconsin. We hope to hit over 100 participants for next year,” Eggold said.
According to Eggold and Haas, the Shantytown event brought awareness to the homeless and also acknowledged that being homeless is not shameless.
“Christians are supposed to love others as ourselves and through this event, the people who attended hopefully got that message,” Haas said.