Students fight to end hunger

November 17, 2013 8:32 pm
St. Elizabeth's Week kicked off with members of Manna volunteering at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank on Nov. 16.  Amber McKain served by stocking shelves with donated food. — Jessica Grant/TRUMPET

St. Elizabeth’s Week kicked off with members of Manna volunteering at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank on Nov. 16. Amber McKain served by stocking shelves with donated food. — Jessica Grant/TRUMPET

Hunger and homelessness are a reality of life, Felicia Finley, the vice-president of Manna, said.

Although they form a horrible reality, a reality which no one wants to face, these two issues are going to impact every single one of us, Finley said.

St. Elizabeth’s Week, Nov. 16-22, is a time of education and action centered on hunger and homelessness.

The week offers students, faculty and staff opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others whether it be on a local level or around the world.

“St. Lizzie’s Week is all about giving back to those who are hungry, homeless and impoverished.

“Students have the opportunity to increase their knowledge of these worldwide problems and hopefully be inspired to do something about them,” St. Elizabeth’s Week planning committee member Jessa Bidwell, said.

One such opportunity for education is the Voices of the Issues panel, which will be on Thursday.

Representatives from the Hospitality House, Cedar Valley Friends of the Family and the Northeast Iowa Food Bank will bring the issues to life, volunteer Kjerstin Lewis said.

The panel will also feature insight from a man who used to be homeless, but has since turned his life around.

Another chance for people to learn about hunger is Wednesday during the Famine Feast, an event hosted by Manna.

Participants will learn how social class affects hunger while speakers from the community will share their experiences.

Discussing hunger is important, Finley said, but it is difficult for most students to imagine what it is like to be “food insecure.”

Being food insecure is when an individual does not know where his or her next meal will come from.

The 30-hour fast, which starts Wednesday, is an opportunity for students to see that other perspective, Finley said.

She said by not eating for 30 hours, students will gain a new appreciation for what they may take for granted.

“I think that sometimes we get too comfortable in our own lives and don’t realize what challenges other people face every single day,” Lewis said.

A glimpse of these challenges will be realized during the 30-hour fast.

St. Elizabeth Week is also in conjunction with the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Although hunger and homelessness may seem like huge problems to tackle, every action counts, Logan Goetzinger, a planning committee member, said.

“Even the smallest amount of help makes a large impact on aiding those who are affected by poverty,” Goetzinger said.

For a full schedule of the week’s events, click here.

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