Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Hello readers! As promised, this week I will be focusing on the events of Lynchburg College’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (HHAW) which began Saturday, November 9th with the Poverty Conference and will conclude next Saturday, November 16th.
The Poverty Conference was an eye-opening experience unlike any other. I learned so much more about poverty in the United States (as well as in Lynchburg) than I may have ever learned without attending this event. The speakers were insightful and entertaining, and they all are fighting poverty in their own way. I feel honored to have met these individuals, and I feel empowered to begin my own fight against poverty in Lynchburg. If you missed this event, you will want to make sure that you attend next year!

As for the rest of the week, the Solidarity Sleepers event began Sunday, November 10th, and will continue throughout the rest of HHAW. This event is designed to help LC students gain perspective on how it feels to be forced to sleep outside on a daily basis by sleeping in the Dell for the entire week. Although our students will be able to bundle up with jackets and sleeping bags, there are millions of people across the globe who do not have that luxury. The participants in this event will be gathering pledges, so if you are unable to participate you can still help someone who is participating by making a pledge.

Other HHAW events this week are:

Monday
– quilt making, 12 – 4 p.m. in Schewel Terrace
Tuesday – write letters to your Senators from 12 – 2 p.m. in the Caf foyer
Wednesday – Poverty Simulation, Burton East Room, 7 – 9 p.m.
Thursday – gathering and assembling feminine hygiene kits, 4 – 6 p.m. in Brewer Meeting Room
Friday – write letters to your Senators from 12 – 2 p.m. in Schewel Lobby
Saturday – visit Shalom Farms in Richmond from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Poverty Simulation on Wednesday will demonstrate how difficult it is to begin a month with only $10 by allowing students to go through a series of 15 minute “weeks” while attempting to provide for themselves and their families. Although the simulation uses Monopoly money, it’s not a game but rather an intimate look into how many families or individuals struggle to function below the poverty line.

The collecting of feminine hygiene kits is an event that has really impacted my life because there are millions of women without the means to hygienically deal with their menstrual cycles or clothe their babies because they do not have the financial means to do so. Many women are forced to use newspaper, bark, corn husks, etc., to stop the flow of their menstrual period which can cause infections and humiliation. Children who do not have diapers to wear are not allowed to attend pre-school or daycare, and are therefore missing out on the basic developmental learning every child deserves. The Office of Community Involvement will be collecting feminine hygiene products, diapers, soap, panties, and washcloths from now until the end of HHAW.

The trip to Shalom Farms on Saturday will give students a chance to collect fresh apples to be donated to homeless individuals. It is against the law for farmers to sell apples that have fallen from the tree and hit the ground even if the apples are still good for eating.  However, it is legal for charitable organizations such as the Society of St. Andrews to bring volunteers to collect those fallen apples and to donate them to homeless shelters and food banks.
Each one of these events is designed to help students develop a better understanding of the issue of poverty across the globe. I highly recommend that everyone attends as many events as possible.

As always, I appreciate any questions, comments, or suggestions at olds_r@students.lynchburg.edu.
Quote of the Week: “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” ― Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle”

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One comment on “Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
  1. Gary Olds says:

    Very interesting article. It’s so sad to hear of the struggles of the homeless, but there are organizations and centers who may provide assistance. Churches and food banks are good sources for daily, if minimal subsistance, especially for families who are experiencing job loss and financial disasters. What are the attitudes of the authorities, and how about state and federal agencies? Of course, dealing with the sick, disabled, addicted, or mentally ill has to be complicated. I wonder how dealing with the homeless has changed from past generations and how today’s poor economy and lack of jobs has affected charities and aid centers. Who protects the homeless from violence? A few years ago when I managed the city market, a man showed up daily to use the bathroom and clean himself, then chat up the vendors. Obviously homeless and broke, he never asked for anything, but was often given some money and food. I discovered he had at one time been fairly successful in life, but following two tours in ‘Nam, he returned with mental issues probably as a result of PTSD. He lost his job, house, and family whom he had not seen in many years. One morning he arrived wearing a very nice lined leather jacket which was given to him by a good Samaritan. He was so happy to be able to stay warmer as he slept in a nearby alley. I didn’t see him for a couple of weeks. When I saw him next he was on crutches and badly bruised. He said some “tuff guys” had robbed him of his prized jacket and beaten him badly. He spent two weeks in hospital. He grinned his toothless grin and then said “That’s the way it is on the streets.” He said the teens also took his cap in which he kept his only picture of his former wife and daughter. I got him some food and gave him a few dollars and told him to come back the next day and I would see if I could get him some more permanent help. I never saw him again. I like to think he received help from someone who got him to a veteran’s care facility. I don’t think anyone knew his real name. He simply called himself “Wolf”. To this day I wish I hadn’t waited to help him. Anyway, good work on highlighting this issue, especially at this time of year. – Gary Olds

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