Hahnville High School’s “Sleep in a Box” event was finally able to take place again this month, and with it came the opportunity for students to learn about the issues homeless people face as well as a chance to raise money for a local charity.
Bodie Dufrene, an HHS English teacher and student council advisor, said this year 34 students participated in the fundraiser. The night raised close to $300 for Ozanam Inn – a non-profit, direct service agency serving the homeless and underserved of greater New Orleans.
For the event, which was sponsored by the HHS student council, students decorated boxes and then slept in them for one night. During the course of the night, Dufrene said there were presentations related to homelessness statistics and facts, as well as games to engage the students in learning more about the social issue.
The event, which started in 2009, has not taken place for the past couple of years because of the pandemic.
“One of the things that we talked about in the educational piece is what the money we raised can do for the people who are impacted by homelessness,” Dufrene said. “I did a little bit of digging about what an organization can do with certain amounts of money and I found that there are some organizations that can provide close to 350 meals for people on $315 and that’s close to what we raised. The students were surprised that the money could stretch that far.”
Dufrene said the students really seemed to enjoy the event.
“It’s fun, but it’s also so special seeing that it’s for a good cause and that people in Louisiana are benefitting through this event,” he said. “Students said they really enjoyed what they experienced.”
Alida Dufrene, a HHS junior, said the thing she liked the most about the event was decorating her box.
“I enjoyed seeing everyone’s decorated box too,” she said. “What did I learn from the event is that it is a lot harder sleeping in a box than I thought. It was uncomfortable, hot and I missed my bed. I am happy to learn that we raised enough funds to feed 25 homeless people for a week.”