Club Hosts Overnight Fundraiser

   Habitat for Humanity hosted an overnight fundraising event called Shanty Town on April 19. The club held the fundraiser outside the activity center from 4 pm-8 am. A shanty town consisted of a group of homeless people who build makeshift shelters commonly from cardboard.

   “Shanty Town is a fundraiser where students will go out and get pledges in order to out and experience what homeless people in our community experience on a daily basis, “ sponsor Juan Zermeno-Gomez said. 

  In the past, the fundraiser raised around $1000. Shanty Town ‘22 raised around $1500 with 50 students involved. Twenty-eight students stayed overnight to participate in the overnight experience.

  “All the proceeds go to our Fort Smith Habitat for Humanity organization,” Habitat for Humanity president Mattie McLellan said.

  Students won titles for different categories including best shanty, worst shanty, most basic shanty, etc.

   “So with these awards, we give the best shanty a golden hammer. And that’s more or less for students who go out of their way to decorate their shanties with lights, with paint, things of the sort. And then the worst shanty town is basically for students who purposely make their shanty look somewhat uncomfortable or not the best looking but we do it in hopes that more students will participate and that students will be engaged while they’re fundraising,” Zermeno said.

   Habitat officers and chaperones judged all the shanties after dinner to choose winners for the categories after dinner time.

   “If I could build my shanty differently, I would change the roof. It was made with two pieces of cardboard and we had to use so much tape to secure it,” senior Fabiola Velez said.

   Habitat for Humanity hosted this fundraiser for approximately ten years, with Zermeno sponsoring the fundraiser for three years.

   “I love seeing the students build the shanties. It’s always funny to see everyone piecing it together. I also love to see people realize what homelessness feels like. We only experience a small portion of their hardships and it’s very eye opening,” McLellan said. 

Trista Truong