Students aim for solidarity with hungry, homeless

Megan Angelo, Oscar Abello

Campus Ministry presented the 33rd annual Father Ray Jackson Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week this past week, Nov. 13 through Nov. 20. Over $8,000 dollars was raised to be split between Oxfam America, Water for Waslala, and Partners in Health.

Events included a hunger banquet, a Run for Hunger and a craft sale.

Throughout the week, the organizational committee of about 35 students conducted a letter-writing campaign and a food drive.

“Everybody kind of points to Villanova as a model,” said Joyce Zavarich of Peace and Justice and Campus Ministry, who serves as an advisor to the committee. “We might have the biggest [hunger and homelessness awareness week].

On some campuses, they might have one lecture, a fast day, a hunger banquet, but we have all of them.”

A new feature of this year’s week was the presence of an African refugee tent, which was set up on the lawn in front of Dougherty Hall. The tent was provided by Catholic Relief Services and was used by refugee families in Sudan.

Wednesday’s sleep out, an event meant to encourage solidarity with the homeless, was moved into the Center for Peace and Justice in Sullivan Hall because of a heavy rain.

“I think it’s important even though we’ll never know what it’s like to be homeless unless we find ourselves in a position where we actually don’t have a home,” said Jason Brown, a participant in the event. “It’s important to show a tangible sign of solidarity with those who don’t have the luxuries we do.”

Father Ray Jackson, who started the week, was an Augustinian priest who worked in the Peace and Justice Center.

“He was really the impetus behind getting this going,” Zavarich said.

Zavarich said she hopes students will remember the cause long after the week has concluded.

“I hope that there is a sense of awareness of the needs of others in our world, and a sense of the injustice that exists in our world,” Zavarich said.

“From that, students will be moved to bring about change.”