Teens Trade Beds for Boxes

Kelly Ann Lynch Features

LANCASTER, Pa. – One hundred teenagers will gather Saturday evening, Sept. 16, in “Mychal’s Village,” a makeshift homeless village built on the back parking lot of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church here. Students will be offered no meals throughout the night, only water, in an effort to raise awareness for the true discomforts of the homeless.

Mychal’s Village will be built in memory of New York Fire Department Chaplain Mychal Judge, who was killed in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The teens will pay $9.11 to secure their spot in the village and also secure sponsors for the overnight stay. All money raised will benefit the homeless in New York City, Lancaster, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Recording artist and established hip-hop/rap musician Bob Lefnesky of Righteous B will be the master of ceremonies. Michael Duffy of St. Francis Inn, Philadelphia will share with the teens personal stories of homeless men and women that he has met. The teens will also receive a welcome message from New York Police Detective Steven McDonald, longtime friend of Mychal. McDonald.

The teens will also hear from Ken Marzinko of the Lancaster Homeless Student Project, who will help them gain a better appreciation of the life of a young homeless student. Doug Hopwood of United Council of Churches will be on hand to accept a donation of canned goods brought by the teens.

The teens will visit stations during the night to create packages of diapers for homeless babies and packages of school supplies for homeless students. They will also create a “homeless friend,” give him an identity, and help him overcome an obstacle during the night. Mass will be celebrated in the village at midnight with music by Final Hour of Lancaster. A surprise is planned at 1 a.m., and the event will conclude in the morning as the teens walk on a “Breadline” for breakfast.