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Students raise awareness of hunger and homelessness

Community Connect eventA panel of local agency representatives will provide an update to the Yamhill County 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness Monday, Nov. 15, at Linfield. Students, faculty and staff are recognizing national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week with a series of events Nov. 15-20.

In January 2010, 936 people were homeless in Yamhill County. One in 17 families in Oregon is hungry, the highest rate in America. Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is nationally recognized as an opportunity for college students to educate and advocate for these hunger and homelessness issues. Linfield’s activities are sponsored by Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Linfield Alternative Spring Break, the Chaplain’s Team, and ASLC with the Office of Community Engagement and Service.

The series of events will kick off Monday, Nov. 15, at 5 p.m. with an educational panel, “Making Visible the Invisible,” in Fred Meyer Lounge, Riley Hall. A panel of local agency representatives and scholars will discuss how hunger, food insecurity and homelessness impact the members of our community and what is being done to address these critical issues in Yamhill County. A year two update to the Yamhill County Ending Homelessness Plan will be presented. The panel includes Gennie Harris, assistant professor of education; Tricia Harrop, YCAP Regional Food Bank; Elise Hui, Housing Authority of Yamhill County; Lee Means, Yamhill Community Action Partnership; and moderator Silas Halloran-Steiner, Yamhill County Health and Human Services. Light refreshments will be served.

Later that evening on the Intramural Field, students will take part in “One Night Without a Home,” an attempt to simulate the experience of homelessness. A movie focusing on the issue of homelessness will be shown at 7 p.m. followed by a food challenge. Participants will sleep out until 7 a.m.

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, a Hunger Banquet will be held at 5:15 p.m. in Jonasson Hall, lower level of Melrose Hall. The banquet is designed to simulate global wealth disparity. In 2009, 10 percent of the global population owned 85 percent of the global wealth. Participants will be assigned to an income bracket and will eat only the food that can be afforded on that wage. Discussion afterward will focus on global poverty.

Throughout the month of November, in conjunction with Sodexo, Linfield’s food service provider, a food drive will also take place on campus. All donations will go to the Regional Food Bank in Yamhill County to help feed families during the holiday season. Donations can be made in Dillin Hall.

Other events throughout the week include tables at Walker and Withnell Halls, a 20-hour famine experience, volunteer opportunities and an Alternative Spring Break fundraiser.

“We hope that the Linfield and McMinnville community gain a greater awareness of the complexity and depth of the issues of hunger and homelessness both locally and globally,” Jessica Wade, director of community engagement and service, said.

All events are open to the public. For more information, contact Lizzie Martinez, student engagement coordinator, at 503-883-2326 or lmartinez@linfield.edu.