On Saturday, Nov. 10 to Sunday, Nov. 18, the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) will be hosting Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. There will be a week full of events that intend to help those that are struggling from the effects of hunger and homelessness and raise awareness for them.
CLS has planned a handful of events, while collaborating and co-hosting with other organizations to raise awareness for these issues that hit so close to home. The intention of these events is to educate those who are unaware that the issues of hunger and homelessness are not far-fetched ideas. Instead, they impact many people in the Kean University community and in the surrounding area. It is important that students recognize this and support people who are impacted from hunger and homelessness, as they often go together.
There will be several events not only throughout Nov. 10 to Nov. 18, the official week for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week, but also until the end of November due to Thanksgiving.
CLS will be hosting a few trips throughout the week to get students involved in helping those who suffer from hunger and homelessness. On Nov. 10, the first trip is to the Community FoodBank, where participants will volunteer to help the staff. The FoodBank is in charge of many tasks, such as collecting food for distribution, providing resources to local soup kitchens and food pantries, providing mobile pantries for those in need and much more.
The second trip Caring Closet will transpire Nov. 12 at 12:15 p.m. For this event, participants will visit West Side High School in Newark where they will be assisting students that are involved in Lights On, an organization that provides kids with opportunities in the evenings to ensure that they are safe and not on the streets. Kean volunteers will collaborate with Lights On to sort donations that will then be sent out to those in need.
The third trip will transpire Nov. 17 at 7:15 a.m. at Habitat For Humanity. This is an organization that believes everyone should have a sustainable place to live. They show this by working with those who may be homeless or living in a bad environment and help them find somewhere safe to live. Kean volunteers will assist those that work with Habitat For Humanity to enact their mission even further.
There will also be a trip to help support New Eyes for the Needy, which is an organization that prides itself in improving the vision of those that are less fortunate. They provide adults and children that cannot afford glasses with prescription glasses. Volunteers for this trip will aid in sorting, testing, and boxing glasses for those that are overseas. This trip will take place Nov. 8 from 11:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Additionally, there is another event Nov. 15 from 7:30 a.m. to noon at Somerset Regional Animal Shelter. At this service event, students will be able to socialize with the cats and dogs at the shelter. They will also be expected to clean the cages to provide a healthy environment for the animals.
There will also be several events for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week that will be held on campus for those who are unable to attend the off-campus trip. For example, CLS will be tabling in MSC on the following dates for Student Change Hunger, a food and clothing drive:
- Thursday, Nov. 1, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
- Monday, Nov. 5, noon to 2:00 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 8, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 13, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 15, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Additionally, CLS will be hosting the Stand Campaign, where volunteers will learn about hunger and homelessness as it pertains to the surrounding community. After learning more about it, students are encouraged to create signage that shares the student’s gratitude for their own station in life, yet drawing attention and awareness for those who are still struggling to meet their basic needs. This event will take place Nov. 15 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at various locations around campus.
Another event that CLS is hosting during this awareness week is a Food For Thought, which will transpire Nov. 14 and 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in MSC 228. The purpose of these events are to add a service component to hunger-based conversations that are being hosted by the Human Rights Institute. Students will be making sandwiches, sorting donations or creating care packages for those less fortunate. Volunteers are asked to bring at least one non-perishable food item to either event that will be donated to the Community FoodBank of Hillside, or bring at least one new toiletry that will be donated to Raphael's Life House, where it will be of use to young, homeless pregnant women.
Attending Food For Thought can be counted as service hours for students as long as they also attend one of the following lectures that have been scheduled to educate students on those suffering from hunger and homelessness. These lectures are hosted by the Human Rights Institute.
The first is Hunger & Food Policy, which transpires Oct. 30 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre in MSC. Guest speaker Lisa Pitz, an outreach director for Hunger Free New Jersey, will speak on how students can help eliminate hunger.
On Nov. 13 in the Little Theatre in MSC from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. is the second lecture, called Hunger and Veterans. There will be United States Veterans at this event speaking about how they have struggled from hunger throughout their lives. Additionally, they will educate students on how to help veterans that are impacted from hunger.
The third lecture, Hunger & Conflict: 60 Minutes Goes to South Sudan, students will listen to guest speakers John Prendergast, founder of The Enough Project, and Nicole Young, producer for 60 Minutes. They will be speaking about the hunger crisis in South Sudan and how students will be able to help. This event will take place in The North Avenue Academic Building (NAAB) Auditorium from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. on Nov. 29.
For students in the Transition to Kean class that need community service hours or students that simply want to participate in community service, there is an event happening Nov. 10. This event is called The Salvation Army and the Red Kettle Bell Souvenirs and involves students encouraging people to donate to those in need. Pre-registration is required, so make sure to sign up if one is interested. There will be several shifts for students to choose from:
- 10:30 a.m. to noon.
- 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
- 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Roberto Adams, service specialist for CLS, said, "It is important to raise awareness for Hunger and Homelessness because food insecurity and shelter issues are ongoing problems not only with those less fortunate but college students, LGBT+ teenagers and anyone who you would least expect. Raising awareness will help shed light on the issue and provide resources and help for those who don’t have the courage to admit that they need it."
It is important that the Kean Community continue to support efforts that assist those that are negatively impacted from hunger and homelessness. With the efforts of the CLS and the Human Rights Institute as well as dozens of students and student groups who continue to focus on the needs of people who are struggling, Kean students will be able to raise awareness for these issues through Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.