November is known as a time to reflect and give thanks for whatever one may have, whether it be food, clothing, loved ones or even a roof over one's head. Unfortunately, some people are not able to celebrate these things even though they seem to be basic human necessities. For this reason and many more, the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) holds Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week every November to raise awareness for those who are suffering and need their voices to be heard.
One of the most impactful events of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is the Stand Campaign. For this event, students sign up to participate as well as complete an informational orientation. At this orientation, they are educated on the statistics of hunger and homelessness, not only in the Kean community but also around the globe. Volunteers then made signage on cardboard regarding the information they learned.
On the day of the Stand Campaign, Monday, Nov. 18, the student volunteers gathered at the clock tower outside the Miron Student Center and stood to raise awareness for the less fortunate. It was a cold and rainy day, which contributed to the importance of the event, as many of the people impacted by hunger and homelessness do not have a roof over their heads.
Passersbys were able to read the statistics and become more educated on these important social issues, and saw how they directly impact people close to home. Students stopped in their tracks as they were intrigued by the signs and wanted to learn why the volunteers were gathered. Many who stopped to read the signs were shocked by the statistics.
The signs included a variety of statistics and verbiage regarding hunger and homelessness awareness. For example, one student held a sign that said, "75% of homeless or runaway youth have dropped out or will drop out of school." Another student showed their support with a sign that read, "I'm not cold, I'm not hungry, but 9,398 New Jerseyans are."
A sign that stood out read, "I have a warm bed at night but 8,864 people in NJ don't!"
Marcus Evertz, a service specialist for CLS with a content in hunger, homelessness and housing helped make this event possible.
He said, "The purpose of the campaign is to spread awareness on campus, and to the world, about the thousands of people that are homeless, food insecure, and just to simply take a stand for the people who don't have a lot of the things we have."
Evertz continued, "The real issues that should be broadcast aren't really recognized, and little things like this can make a huge difference."
To learn more about how one can help those that face the issues of hunger and homelessness, be sure to reach out to the CLS service team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting their office in Miron Student Center, Room 219.