Week raises awareness of hunger, homelessness

Will Caverly

With a 5K Run for Hunger starting out the week, Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week kicked off last Saturday, Nov. 15. Campus Ministry, working in cooperation with the Center for Peace and Justice Education, ran a series of programs, events and lectures in order to raise awareness of the state of many countries around the world.

The Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week at Villanova benefits two charitable programs that are linked to the University through ties with Campus Ministry.

Oxfam International is a program that provides emergency aid to countries around the world, especially those in need of food or education.

The other charity, Water for Waslala, is a project based out of Philadelphia that raises awareness of world poverty and builds potable water systems in Waslala, Nicaragua.

The ties with the Waslala program were created through numerous Campus Ministry service break trips to Nicaragua.

Some of the specific programs going on around campus could be found in Connelly and Dougherty Halls.

For Fast Day, students were able to donate one meal from their meal plan to the Oxfam foundation at tables set up in Dougherty. For each meal donated, four dollars were donated to the organization.

Junior Shauna Pelkey, who worked at one of the sign-up desks in Dougherty on Tuesday, said, “If everyone donated a meal, it’s amazing how much money we would make.”

The Penny Challenge was located on the upstairs floor of the Connelly Center. Essentially an old-fashioned collection table, the Penny Challenge had 24 buckets lined up on the table into which people could donate loose change. One bucket was set up for each organization that was participating in the activities.

Seniors Lauren Uzenski and Carrie Frank, who were running the Penny Challenge table, pointed out the marble machine, which drops a marble down a series of chutes every 3.2 seconds to represent someone dying around the world from hunger.

On Tuesday, world hunger activist Francis Moore Lappe gave a lecture and PowerPoint presentation on ways to alleviate the worldwide problem of hunger. Her many novels, including her most widely known work, “Diet for a Small Planet,” are widely regarded around the world as some leading material on the subject.

A craft sale was held throughout the week in the bottom floor of Connelly by Fair Trade and Ten Thousand Villages associations.

The Battle of the Bands was held on Thursday to raise money for the charitable foundations, and there will also be a basketball tournament held in Alumni Gym on Saturday.

The program was originally started 31 years ago by the recently deceased Father Ray Jackson, who was also the co-founder of the peace and justice department at the University.

A committee of men and women wishing to be involved in the program was formed last spring through an application process.

Their preparation for this event started weeks ago with initial planning and acquisition of speakers for the proceedings.