During the week of Nov. 11 Florida Southern College’s Student Life and Cultural Center hosted its fourth recognition of National Hunger and Poverty Awareness Week.
National Hunger and Poverty Awareness Week seeks to raise awareness about people in society who live in poverty.
“The goal is to really make students aware of issues that are right in their local community,” Rachel Smith, Volunteer In Service to America member and coordinator of volunteer programs at FSC, said. “It’s a global issue, hunger and homelessness, but it’s very present in Polk County.”
The Life and Cultural Center teamed up with different organizations, such as TZeDeK, the Multicultural Student Council, Lambda Chi, and Sandwich Ministries to make the events of the week possible.
Sarah Hester, president of Sandwich Ministries, believes that Hunger and Poverty Awareness Week helps underscore issues that are common in society.
“It’s something you don’t want to think about,” Hester said. “We don’t want to picture actual people with faces, and names and families that don’t have anywhere to go, that don’t know where their next meal is going to come from.”
Posters and emails were put up around campus to announce the week’s events. Hester said that they used a lot of “word of mouth” as well.
A lot of the information was necessary, as this year’s Hunger and Poverty Awareness Week was done differently than last year.
“Everything from this year is different from what we’ve done before,” Smith said.
Instead of having a sleep-out, the Student Life and Cultural Center made other plans.
“We decided instead to work with other student organizations and programs on campus that were going on,” Smith said. “That way, we could promote both of our events.”
One of these events included the Association of Campus Entertainment’s concert, showcasing singer and songwriter Russell Dickerson on Nov. 13.
Students that went to the concert made donations to help aid the week’s mission.
The Moc Hunger Banquet, hosted by LCC, TZeDek and MSC on Thursday night, was also new and a big part of the week.
Students donated $1, or two canned goods to gain entrance to the event.
Once there, students were served different types of food, according to his or her assigned income bracket to hear about the social issues surrounding the week.
The week finishes off on Sunday with an event that helps Sandwich Ministries in its weekly mission to help feed the homeless at Munn Park.
“Basically, it’s like you make a sandwich for yourself for Save-A-Swipe, and then you make a sandwich for a homeless person out at Munn Park,” Lesley Shaughnessy, co-president of Sandwich Ministries, said.
In the end, Smith hopes that the events will inspire students to go out into local communities.
“I think sometimes it’s hard for students and people in general to see what’s right in front of them if they’re not actively engaged in it,” Smith said. “So we want to take students out of the Florida Southern bubble and let them see what’s in Polk County, and what they can do to help.”