All Creatures' 'Box City' raises food, funds for pantry
"Box City" has two primary purposes, according to Brian Bemiller, Johnstown All Creatures 4-H Club adviser.
The first is to raise money and donations for the Johnstown-Northridge Food Pantry. The other is to help the 4-H members appreciate what they have.
This year's event succeeded on both levels, Bemiller said.
"It was outstanding," he said.
This was the fourth year for the Box City event, whereby 4-H members and advisers spend the night in boxes on the town square to raise money and canned food for the food pantry. They camped from 6 p.m. May 17 to 10 a.m. the next morning. The goal was to raise 1,500 cans of food and $2,000 in cash. Bemiller said 30 of the 4-H Club's 40 members participated and raised 770 food items and $2,168 cash. He said one of the fundraisers was a raffle of a full hog, processed by Amazing Meats. Resident Lanita Mann won the raffle.
Bemiller said the participants' ages ranged from 6 to 18, though the youngest members -- the Cloverbuds -- didn't stay all night. He said spending the night in boxes helps the kids appreciate their homes and have a better understanding of homeless people's lives.
He said Johnstown's Thirty-One Gifts company donated bags for the food items and blankets for the 4-H'ers -- and they came in handy.
"It got a little chili Friday night," Bemiller said. "That was really a nice thing for (Thirty-One Gifts) to do."
Bemiller said despite the primitive conditions, the kids really enjoyed the experience, including being treated to a performance from a band comprising several of the 4-H Club's members. He said he and former club president Christine Snowden came up the idea for Box City, and the annual event continues to be a success.
Bemiller said food pantry director Ruth Krumm was pleased with Box City's results.
"We dropped off the donations Monday," he said. "She was very happy."
Krumm said previously that the pantry is running unexpectedly low on supplies this spring.
Bemiller thanked everyone who donated and especially the 4-H members who participated.
"I could not be more proud of our club members," he said. "What an outstanding group of young people."