by Jen Kastner
MIDLAND - One Midland faith-based group is giving up everything so they can get the true experience of sleeping on the streets. Church Under the Bridge-Midland is dedicated to helping the growing homeless population in the Basin.
On June 14, they'll "go homeless," in an effort to understand the men and women they serve on the streets.
Church Under the Bridge-Midland Founder, Evan Rogers, tells NewsWest 9, "For 24 hours, they'll have to make the same types of decisions that people in extreme poverty or homelessness have to make."
Gathering in a church parking lot, they'll trade in their clothes for homeless-type clothing. When bed time rolls around, most of them will sleep outside on the ground, without sleeping bags.
"They'll be given a small amount of fake money and if they want to sleep inside they'll have to pay but that may prevent them from having enough money to eat the next morning," Rogers said.
The breakfast served the following morning will be far from appetizing.
"Maybe stale chips and a half a cup of water," Rogers said.
For a full day, they'll walk the streets of Midland, looking for any loose change on the ground and digging through dumpsters and trash cans for anything they can sell, like aluminum cans and glass bottles.
The group is taking this simulation seriously. The growing homeless population in the Tall City is driving them to understand what it's really like out there so that they better appreciate what is usually taken for granted.
The second evening, participants will be assigned to represent either an economically rich or economically poor country. If it's poor, they'll take whatever scraps of food they're given. If it's rich, they'll get second or third helpings of food and dessert.
"It will give a perspective there as far as how we take our food here," Rogers said.
After that, it's back to normal life, but hopefully participants will be left humbled forever by the experience.
The cost to participate is $20 and all proceeds will go towards Church Under the Bridge-Midland's efforts. For more information, visit http://www.churchunderthebridgemidland.org/ or find their Facebook page by searching Church Under the Bridge Midland.