Hunger Awareness Weekend Supported at Oberlin
To the Editor:
We are often confronted with images of children and adults in famine-stricken countries and we feel a sense of outrage that people should have to live like that. However, many of these people who are appalled at conditions in other countries are blind or unaware that a similar problem with hunger exists in the United States. Because it is not of the graphic type, it is hardly given any mention in the media. But we cannot hide from the fact that despite the United States’ prosperity, 31 million Americans suffer from hunger or food insecurity annually. What is even more appalling is that one in six children are hungry or face food insecurity every day. In Lorain County, this figure is one in five children.
Hunger persists in this country for several reasons, one of which is that agencies that provide services to the food insecure lack sufficient funds. Additionally, the general public lacks education about the issues surrounding hunger in America. It is with the dual intent of raising funds and awareness about hunger that on the weekend of April 7th and 8th Oberlin College will have a Hunger Awareness Weekend. Two events are planned for this weekend: the Hunger Cleanup on Saturday and Empty Bowls on the following day.
The Hunger Cleanup is a nationwide community service event that involves hundreds of schools around the country. It is a one-day community service fundraiser. Volunteers go out to local community sites and do a morning of service while raising funds through hourly sponsorships for their work. Sites confirmed thus far include: OSAP, Lorain County Historical Society, Second Harvest Food Bank, Welcome Nursing Home and the Lorain County Metroparks. Volunteer projects include but are not limited to planting seeds, doing yard-work, packing boxes of food and helping senior citizens. The Empty Bowls project began here in Oberlin during Winter Term, when a small group of students spent January learning about hunger in America, particularly Lorain County, and planning the event itself. At an Empty Bowls event, in exchange for a small donation, attendees receive a simple meal of soup and bread served in handmade ceramic bowls, which they keep afterwards as a reminder of hunger. As part of educating Empty Bowls guests, sociologist and author Janet Poppendieck will speak. Her book Sweet Charity describes the state of emergency food in America today, highlighting its inadequacies in ending the problem of hunger. All funds raised will go to a local agency working to alleviate hunger.
The Hunger Awareness Weekend is co-sponsored by Ohio PIRG, Hillel, Habitat for Humanity, La Alianza and Oberlin Christian Fellowship and endorsed by the Center for Service and Learning and the Office of the Deans. To pre-register for the Cleanup, sign up in Wilder 303, where pledge sheets can also be picked up, or call x8137. Tickets for Empty Bowls will be on sale at Wilder Desk. Pre-registration and ticket sales will also take place in the Mailroom on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.
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