Hunger Homelessness Awareness Week On Campus


Courtesy of @villanovacampusministry

Students discuss Hunger Homeless Awareness Week at the interest fair.

Leah Cardinale, Staff Writer

Started in 1975 by Father Ray Jackson and a group of Villanova students, Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is now at more than 700 campuses and communities nationwide. The organization operates on the pillars of education, advocacy and service as it works towards its goal of zero people affected by hunger and homelessness. The week officially begins on Nov. 13. However, the week before kicks off HHAW with events like classroom presentations on hunger and homelessness, a meal-plan donation drive and an HHAW at CAT Quizzo. 

Hunger Homelessness and Awareness Week will be jam-packed with amazing events and opportunities to get educated, to participate in advocacy, as well as service. For example, Nov. 17 is Fast Day. HHAW’s website states, “For every banner ID we collect, Villanova Dining Services will allocate the donated meal to a food insecure Villanova student in a student-to-student meal donation program called the Wildcat Meal Share. Your meal donation will be taken during the lunch period (10:30 a.m. – 4:10 p.m.). You will not be able to swipe into a dining hall or use an MPE during that time (Points and guest meals will still be active). In lieu of a lunch meal, there will be granola bars and apples at swipe desks in all 3 dining halls (Donahue, Dougherty, and St. Mary’s).”

Cathy Nguyen is Senior Head Chair of HHAW. She is a senior Theology and Peace and Justice major who has been involved with the organization on campus for three and a half years. Nguyen highlighted some of the week’s most anticipated events.

“Our keynote event is on Wednesday, Nov. 16, and our speaker is Rev. Herber Brown, III from the Black Church Food Security Network,” she said. “I’m really excited about the speaker because he will highlight the amazing work the organization does as well as communities of color. This will shed light on developing sustainable food systems and highlight the racial food gaps that we have been seeing especially since the pandemic.”

Another well-known and popular event is the HHAW Solidarity Sleepout. Nguyen broke down the event.

“The sleepout is an event we haven’t had since 2018,” she said. “It was always a campus favorite, and we are partnering with Covenant House to help fund the work they do in supporting homeless youth. We will have a speaker come before hand, campus minister Brad McCabe, and we also hold a vigil. People are invited to sleep out that night at the Oreo as an act of solidarity. Both events are ACS approved.”

Will Stehl is the advisor for the on-campus organization. A Villanova alum, he is the Associate Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Formation at the Center for Peace and Justice Education. Stehl spoke about the importance of the Faculty Research Panel on Nov. 15.

“It may surprise people how interesting, informative, and engaging it is,” Stehl said. “We [HHAW] have three of our own faculty members that talk about their specialties in terms of hunger and homelessness issues. The faculty members are from all over: nursing, counseling, education, psychology etc., and usually have fieldwork they have done in order to reveal deeper layers of what has been going on.”

 This year, the members of the research panel are Dr. Stacey Havlik, Dr. Brianna Remster and Dr. Janette Herbers. 

“It can be heart wrenching to hear how children are suffering from these issues,” Stehl said. “It is a great way to see our faculty using their expertise to help promote the common good through awareness and research by looking at the data and issues of hunger and homelessness.”

For a full schedule of events, visit HHAW’s website, and to stay updated, follow HHAW’s Instagram @vuhhaw.