Stepping ‘Out of the Box’ to raise funds for homeless

by Sue Austreng
Staff Writer

Family Promise of Anoka County stepped out of the box Feb. 9, staging its inaugural fund-raising event at Bunker Hills Activity Center.

Autrio jazz band members prepare to provide background music during the Feb. 9 Out of the Box fund-raiser event benefiting Family Promise of Anoka County. The event was staged at Bunker Hills Activity Center, Andover.

The first Out of the Box event featured an indoor neighborhood of homes created out of cardboard boxes, illustrating the journey from hopelessness to hopefulness.

Some 115 people participated in the evening event, wandering up and down a paper pathway touring streets lined with homes made of cardboard boxes and casting votes for their favorites.

Out of the Box guests also enjoyed live music performed by the Autrio jazz band and sampled glasses of wine and servings of appetizers.

The event, sponsored by Thrivent-North Central Associates, raised nearly $7,000 for Family Promise of Anoka County (FPAC), a non-profit 501(c)3 organization providing temporary overnight shelter for homeless families.

FPAC also provides meals and offers counseling, connecting families to community resources with a customized plan, forging a pathway to a permanent housing solution.

According to FPAC Executive Director Junita Cathey, board members were trying to “think outside the box” as they imagined fund-raiser theme ideas.

Knowing that homeless people sometimes use a cardboard box for shelter, board members imagined creating miniature houses out of cardboard boxes.

Out of the Box houses
The following groups created the box houses for Family Promise of Anoka County’s Feb. 9 fund-raiser:
Fridley United Methodist Church Youth Group
Home Depot-Coon Rapids store
Christ Lutheran Church Youth Group
Faith Lutheran Church Youth Group
Thrivent North Central Community
Glen Cary Lutheran Church
Cub Scout Troop 212
Church of St. Timothy’s Social Justice Team
First Congregational Church of Anoka Youth Group
Faith Lutheran Church F.R.O.G.S.
Whistling Workers 4H Club (mailboxes)
MHVI Cardiology-Fridley

Those box homes would be a way to illustrate the “journey from hopelessness to hopefulness as Family Promise of Anoka County helps families experiencing homelessness find their path back to permanent shelter,” Cathey said.

As Out of the Box fund-raiser donors toured the box home neighborhoods positioned inside Bunker Hills Activity Center, they were also able to network with community groups, neighborhood churches and business personnel.

“This event gave us another chance to connect the faith communities of Anoka County into a network of people and facilities that provides safe and immediate shelter for families that have found themselves without a home,” Cathey said.

To learn more about Family Promise of Anoka County visit or call 763-568-7365.

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]