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Helping the homeless: Elon class to build beds for local shelter

A philosophy class at Elon University is teaming up with Allied Churches of Alamance County the weekend before Thanksgiving to build replacement bunk beds for the nonprofit on North Fisher Street in Burlington.

Professor Anthony Weston (center) works on Tuesday with students in his fall 2009 "Ethics and Decision Making" class to prepare for their Nov. 21 effort to build bunk beds at Allied Churches of Alamance County's homeless shelter.

Students in professor Anthony Weston’s fall course “Ethics and Decision Making” will meet at the shelter at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 21, to put together the 33 bunks.

The project is in conjunction with Allied Churches’ “Framing Family Futures” effort, which involves initiatives such as adopting needy families for the holidays and volunteering to prepare and serve meals. The agency is unable to provide enough overnight shelter for the homeless in Burlington because of its lack of stable beds.

“This is something Allied Churches has been looking to do for several years now,” said Elon senior Lauren Caldwell, who has worked with Allied Churches through the university’s LINCS (Leader in Collaborative Service) program. “We want to provide a safe overnight shelter where people can sleep comfortably.”

With the help of C.C. Cowan, manager of moving and set-up at Elon University, students in Weston’s class have also arranged for Elon to donate old mattresses from residence halls at the end of the 2010 school year.

Lumber for the bed frames will be donated by Carr Construction in Clinton, N.C. “My company always tries to donate to a good cause every year, so this is a great opportunity,” said owner Glenn Carr.

The 2009 “Point in Time” survey in Alamance County documented 121 homeless people in the area, of whom 14 were children.

“Just a few miles off campus is a new, diverse culture that most students are unfamiliar with and, frankly, have not taken the opportunity to become acquainted with,” Weston’s class wrote in its project mission statement. “Perhaps it is our responsibility to not only become global citizens, but local citizens who know and respect their neighbors and are willing to help them in whatever way they can.”

- Article submitted by Elon sophomore Ellie Jesse (ejesse@elon.edu). For more information, contact professor Anthony Weston at weston@elon.edu or (336) 278-5699

Eric Townsend,
11/18/2009 11:13 AM