As students get ready to travel home for the Thanksgiving holidays, National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is a somber reminder to give back to the less fortunate.
This week, Nov. 10 to 18, Penn State students are participating in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week through several activities.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Centre County has an 18.5 percent poverty rate compared to the rest of Pennsylvania, which has 12.4 percent. Centre County has a 6.1 percent higher poverty rate than the rest of Pennsylvania.
“We are trying to promote hunger and homelessness in our area especially around Thanksgiving to remind students to be thankful and give back,” Alain Crevecoeur (junior-journalism), who participated in one of the week’s events, said.
On Monday, a Box City poverty simulation was held outside the HUB-Robeson Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Numerous Penn State organizations created box houses to reside in throughout the day as an effort to raise awareness of poverty in Centre County and the nation.
“Students should understand that there is a lot of poverty in our area and that we are fortunate to have housing and go to college,” member of Habitat for Humanity Chelsey Coudriet (junior-biobehavioral health) said.
The boxes had facts and fliers on them that were intended draw students in and prepare them for the events to come later in the week, NHHW student organizer Adrienne Sherman said.
“The Faces of Hunger and Homelessness in our Community” panel will be held tonight from 7 to 8:30 in the Hetzel Lounge in the HUB-Robeson Center. Groups from the State College community including Youth Services, Transitional Living Program, Out of the Cold and Women’s Resource Center will be presenting.
Each group will have about 15 minutes to talk about how they are advocating to prevent and help people suffering from poverty, Sherman (senior-marketing) said.
The panel will give advocates a chance to talk about issues they have been working on while also giving students insight into poverty in Centre County. The presenters will also talk about how students can get involved and help support the cause, student organizer Jonathan Basso said.
Wednesday will be the official Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Day in which the ground floor of the HUB will have information tables, freebies, speakers and a DJ to inform and encourage students to get involved in the cause.
The events will close off with a film from the Oxfam Student Organization showing in Memorial Lounge of the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
“When students think of State College, they do not think of a poverty-stricken area, but Centre County is one of the most impoverished Pennsylvania counties,” Basso (senior-rehabilitation and human services) said.