For decades, the Student PIRGs, alongside the National Coalition for the Homeless, have co-sponsored Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Students from across the country organized educational, service, fundraising, and advocacy events to combat the problems of poverty. In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that every American has their basic needs met, and we’re so proud to see our students and partners stepping up to make that promise a reality.
In all, more than 2,000 volunteers from 300+ organizations in 43 states and Washington, DC participated, with more than 38,000 people attending events during the week. These events not only raised tens of thousands of dollars and collected thousands of pounds of items, from food to clothing, they also raised awareness for hunger and homelessness. Here are just a few of the many highlights from the week:
The Sharing Center | Longwood, FL
The Sharing Center in Longwood, Florida hosted a variety of events, including a Thanksgiving Distribution. Hundreds of families and individuals in need of a Thanksgiving meal were able to leave with a bag full of everything needed for a true Thanksgiving meal on Friday, November 19th.
Organization of Student Social Workers | Missouri Western State University
The Organization of Student Social Workers at Missouri Western State University organized several events, including the 10th annual Walk for the Homeless. This event brings awareness on the social issue of homelessness and raised more than $9,000 for Northwest Missouri Downtown Health Services that will go towards purchasing ID cards, birth certificates, and transportation for the St. Joseph, MO homeless community.
Arizona PIRG Campus Action | University of Arizona & Northern Arizona University
Arizona PIRG Campus Action at the University of Arizona organized a food drive in partnership with the Food Bank of Tucson. Northern Arizona University students collected 300 pounds of food for the Flagstaff Family Food Center.
Center for Community Engagement | Lynchburg State University
The Center for Community Engagement at the University of Lynchburg in Virginia organized several events, including a canned food drive, a hygiene kit drive (where volunteers put together more than 150 hygiene kits for the homeless), and raised awareness for community resources and organizations throughout the week.
CSUN Food Pantry | California State University, Northridge
The California State University-Northridge Food Pantry hosted a range of activities during the week, including a documentary screening and panel discussion on Hungry to Learn, a pop-up pantry with kitchen item kit giveaways, training on how to recycle food scraps, and tabling to help those in need apply for grocery assistance through CalFresh.
MASSPIRG Students | University of Massachusetts-Amherst
MASSPIRG Students at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst collected photo petitions from students in support of setting up campus-wide programs to end student food insecurity and collected more than 340 pounds of food for the Amherst Survival Center.
I’m so proud of the work that our allies and student leaders did this November to serve their communities. Our hope is that as awareness spreads, it makes solving this crisis—at the college, local, state, and federal level—more likely.