A week of giving back

Blog Post

For decades, the Student PIRGs National Student Campaign Against Hunger & Homelessness, alongside the National Coalition for the Homeless, have co-sponsored Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Students and community members from across the country organized educational, service, fundraising, and advocacy events to combat the problems of poverty.

In all, over 40,000 people took action at events around the country, and #HHWeek reached over 7.2 million people online. These events not only raised tens of thousands of dollars and collected thousands of pounds of items for the needy—from food to clothing to basic necessities—they also raised awareness and helped break the stigma around hunger and homelessness. Below are just a few of the many highlights from the week.

I’m so proud of the work that our partners 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.

MASSPIRG Students | Dartmouth, MA

MASSPIRG’s chapter at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth hosted a virtual “Faces of Homelessness” panel event with the National Coalition for the Homeless to wrap up the week. Sixty students and community members attended and heard from two formerly homeless individuals, who told their stories and answered questions about their experience, as well as ideas to reduce the stigma and end homelessness in our communities.

Blessing Others All The Time | Jacksonville, FL

Blessing Others All The Time provided Thanksgiving baskets to over 800 individuals, which included non-perishable items and a gift card to purchase meat or other items to go with the items they received. This was coordinator Sheila Brown-Jefferson’s 10th year hosting this event!

CALPIRG Students | San Diego, CA

CALPIRG at UC San Diego held a two-day event to gather donations for the campus food pantry. The chapter partnered with restaurants on campus to give coupons to students that donated and collected 521 food donations from their peers.

National Coalition for the Homeless | Washington, DC

The National Coalition for the Homeless held a virtual “Lived Experience” leadership summit to discuss what is being done to prevent homelessness, support people experiencing homelessness, and identify strategies for more low-income and affordable housing.

Haven for Hope | San Antonio, TX

Haven for Hope, along with several of their partners, hosted a press conference at San Antonio City Hall with Mayor Ron Nirenberg to recognize the week and call for action. The organization also hosted their annual sock drive, collecting over 4,000 pairs of socks for individuals experiencing homelessness in their community.

LifeNet4Families | Fort Lauderdale, FL

LifeNet4Families hosted a Self-Care for the Unhoused Event with the Florida Barber Academy. Barbers volunteered to provide their hair care services to 16 clients, helping them feel fresh and rejuvenated!

HomeFront NJ | Lawrenceville, NJ

HomeFront in central New Jersey held a full week of events, including ArtSpace exhibits, a poetry reading panel discussion, a diaper resources event, and a Thanksgiving food drive, where they made “blessing bags” for the community.

Tulsa Day Center | Tulsa, OK

The Tulsa Day Center held a full week of events, including a clothing drive that collected over 750 pounds of clothing, and a partnership with the University of Oklahoma’s College of Community Medicine that gave out over 70 flu shots to the center’s patrons.

Lawson Elementary School | Florissant, MO

Elementary School Counselor Erwin Smith hosted a Thanksgiving food drive event at his elementary school in Missouri and collected over 1,000 non-perishable food items for kids and their families.

Berks Youth Action Board | Reading, PA

The Berks Youth Action Board held a student art contest and art show where students across Berks County, PA were asked to consider what it might be like to experience youth homelessness and to create a piece of artwork that uplifts the voices of youth and provides encouragement to students in need. Six students contributed their original artwork and were invited to attend an art show to raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness in Berks County.

About The Student PIRGs
The Student PIRGs’ mission is to ensure students have the skills, opportunities and training they need to create a better, more sustainable future for all of us. Our youth civic engagement network of 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) student-directed and funded organizations across the country has nearly 300,000 dues-paying student members in 11 states. Each year, 4,000 students get their first hands-on experience in organizing and activism while volunteering with us. Every year, we reach hundreds of thousands of students and generate 150,000 grassroots actions. Since our founding, the Student PIRGs have trained over 1 million volunteers.