Texas State events seek to start conversation about poverty
By Mary Kincy
Some 43 million people in the United States lived in poverty in 2009, according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 48.8 million Americans lived in food-insecure households — those defined by the World Food Summit of 1996 as households where individuals do not at all times have “access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.”
Amid this, the Texas State Student Volunteer Connection is looking to raise awareness of hunger and homelessness, separate from but connected to poverty, by again organizing the campus’ Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Nov. 13-19.
Highlights of the week include a Food and Hygiene Drive to benefit Southside Community Center and the Hays County Food Bank, to which students, faculty and staff may donate items through a campus organization or by dropping items at one of the boxes placed around campus.
Today, Nov. 14, will feature a 7 p.m. “Hunger Banquet” at George’s in the LBJ Student Center, where students in attendance will experience a telling simulation of the conflict between the haves and the have-nots through an exercise that assigns each the status of “rich” or “poor,” then distributes food accordingly. The meager supply of food granted those designated “poor” is designed to bear silent testimony to those who go hungry daily, while the fare set before those designated “rich” will equate the amount of food allotted to a typical American. In addition to the exercise, students in attendance will hear from a speaker who will address hunger around the globe, and will learn more about how they can help those in need.
Other events include an opportunity for Bobcats to volunteer at the Southside Community Center prior to the final collection of items for the Food and Hygiene Drive on Saturday at the LBJ Student Center.
The week’s activities are an important part of working to address the problem of hunger in San Marcos and beyond, and participation is an immediate way for Texas State students to apply themselves to the challenges of Texas — whose household food-insecurity rate the U.S. Census Bureau estimates is the second highest in the nation — and the world that surrounds it.