Ten years. That’s how long the College of Charleston has been involved in Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. This nationwide initiative is organized by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness. The purpose is to draw attention to and raise awareness about the many challenges that community members are facing connected to food and housing insecurity.
This year, from Sunday, Nov. 17, to Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, the College’s Center for Civic Engagement is orchestrating a full schedule of events and activities focused on issues of hunger and homelessness that range from discussion forums to service opportunities to workshops and cooking demonstrations.
Stephanie Visser, director of the center, explains that the events are designed to expose students to the realities of hunger and homelessness.
“One of the most significant messages we can hope to convey through the initiatives hosted as part of this annual week of awareness,” says Visser, “is that there is a universal vulnerability associated with the issues of hunger and homelessness. Each of us, regardless of how susceptible we might perceive ourselves to be, has a responsibility to take action.”
And Sydney Zazzaro ’19, the recurring service and signature event program coordinator for the center says, “As a former student of the College, it amazes me how little students know about the issues of food and housing insecurity on our campus. The issues are pervasive, but it feels like no one is really talking about them. My goal for this week is to start that conversation on a larger scale.”
Both Visser and Zazzaro add that the Student Alumni Associates (SAA) are once again promoting Swipe Away Student Hunger, an initiative that helps address student hunger on the CofC campus. Donations to the College of Charleston Foundation through this program help purchase meal swipes for students in need. The SAA has set a goal of raising $10,000, and all donations are tax deductible.