As the holiday season approaches and we connect with family and friends, it’s important to remember that there are Spartans and community members who struggle with food and housing – and not just during the coldest months of the year. To this end, UNC Greensboro will participate in the national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week between November 16 – 24, 2019.
The event is an annual program in which people come together across the country to draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness. At UNCG, the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement works with campus partners and a student planning committee to plan and host a series of related educational, service, fundraising, and advocacy events.
Eli Lumens, Hunger Reduction Capacity Coordinator for AmeriCorps VISTA in the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement, notes that food insecurity isn’t always about having bare cupboards – hunger is also characterized by the negative impact caused by the quality and quantity of food.
An important resource in the battle against hunger is the Spartan Open Pantry (SOP), which is open to students, staff, and faculty from UNCG. However, the SOP also allows students from surrounding universities, colleges, and community members to collect food. The Pantry is open from 5 to 9 p.m. each Tuesday and Wednesday for distribution. Hot meals are served to anyone who comes each Wednesday evening from 6 to 7 p.m. The SOP is located at 509 Tate Street in Greensboro.
Lumens says. “Between August 14 and October 30 of 2019, the Pantry did 3,845.95 pounds of food output and 107.85 pounds of clothing across 377 visits! It is so incredible to see the amount of donations that come in and to know that folks have what they need.”
The key events on campus for Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week include:
Out of the Garden Project
November 16, 2 – 4 p.m., various locations
Students, faculty, and staff can participate in a community service opportunity with Out of the Garden Project’s fresh mobile market. Transportation is provided, and details will be sent to registered volunteers. Sign up here.
Soups for Hoops
November 18, 7 p.m., Greensboro Coliseum
Join student organizations in a competition to raise donations for the Spartan Open Pantry. The winner will be announced live at the men’s basketball game vs. App State. All student organizations, LLCs, sororities, fraternities, and student groups of any kind are welcome to enter. Weigh-ins will be scheduled with a SOP staff member between November 15 – 17. To participate, complete the interest form here by November 8.
House of Privilege
November 19 – 21, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Office of Intercultural Engagement (OIE), Elliott University Center
OIE offers an experiential event designed for participants to explore different ways in which privilege is recognized in our society. This “home” highlights privileged experiences and realities that often go unrecognized. Come take a tour! For more information about this year’s House of Privilege, check out the Office of Intercultural Engagement‘s website.
Empty Bowls Painting
November 20, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Maple Room, Elliott University Center
Get creative and paint a bowl for a good cause! Bowls will be fired and sold on campus to raise funds for the Spartan Open Pantry. Students, staff, faculty – everyone is welcome to come paint a bowl. More information can be found on the Office of Intercultural Engagement‘s website.
DIY Fleece Blanket Project
November 21, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Azalea Room, Elliott University Center
Come learn more about issues of hunger and homelessness and what you can do about them while making fleece blankets to support Greensboro’s downtown Interactive Resource Center this winter.
Catalyst: Hunger at Home
November 23, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., various locations
Fight hunger both off-campus with a local partner and on-campus with the Spartan Open Pantry. Transportation and meals are provided, and details will be sent to registered volunteers. Register here.
According to the Second Harvest Food Bank, Greensboro ranks ninth for metropolitan areas in the United States for food insecurity, and North Carolina is home to 3 of the top 11 metropolitan areas. The city has one of the largest food deserts in the country, with 1 in 4 children experiencing food insecurity.
Spartans have a strong tradition of stepping up to help other Spartans in need. UNCG’s participation in Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week will give students, faculty, and staff many opportunities to do just that.
Story by Matthew Bryant, University Communications
Photography by Jiyoung Park, University Communications