Hastings College’s LocalGlobal fights hunger and homelessness on campus, in town and across the globe this week with the awareness activities they organized across campus. Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is a nationally-recognized campaign that takes place the week before Thanksgiving every year. HC teams up with those in the Hastings community in an effort to bring about change.
On Nov. 13, LocalGlobal invited students to participate in sandwich making. For this event, HC partnered with OpenTable, a Catholic Social Services operation located in Hastings. A similar event was held on Nov. 20, where students were invited to pack snacks and sack lunches for the same organization.
On Nov. 24, Junior Danielle Lizarraga, co-chair of LocalGlobal, and First-year Tyler Rath led an awareness chapel service in the French Memorial Chapel. A trivia night was also held in the Hazelrigg Student Union (HSU) on Nov. 13.
On Nov. 15 in the HSU, Students packed meals for Hearts and Hands of Hastings. According to Dr. Jean Heriot, director of service learning and professor of religion and sociology, HC has partnered with the organization for about 10 years. Heriot has been the faculty advisor for LocalGlobal, aiding in the awareness week event since coming to HC in 2003.
LocalGlobal’s had a goal to pack 60,000 meals this year. They surpassed their goal, with 267 students packing 66,312 meals for those dealing with food insecurity overseas. The meals packed by HC will be sent to countries that have recently experienced natural disasters, including the Philippines, Guatemala and Haiti.
“It’s important that HC be involved in volunteering, raising awareness and advocating for those affected by hunger and homelessness, because it helps build community not only with those who are a part of HC, but those who live in the town of Hastings,” said Lizarraga. “Many who live in the community come to help us during our events, and they interact with students. It’s a nice community-building event while we change the world bit by bit.”
Many professors across campus encouraged students to participate and give back by awarding attendance or extra credit to those who showed up for meal packing. The meal packing has long been a campus-wide event.
“I believe it’s essential that HC does this because of how important this issue is in our community,” said Sophomore Alianna Higgins, co-chair of LocalGlobal. “I also think it’s important for the students, especially those who may have never experienced or seen food insecurity, to take the time to understand these issues and why they’re so important to our community.”
Higgins mentioned that 11 percent of people in Adams County, which Hastings is located in, experience food insecurity, and 60 percent of kids in Hastings Public Schools are on free or reduced lunches. Each year, more students are requesting food packages or food vouchers from the Crimson Cupboard, according to Lizarraga.
“More and more students are not able to get the food that they need,” said Lizarraga. “Groups like the Crimson Cupboard and LocalGlobal try to raise awareness on this so that others don’t turn a blind eye to this issue.”
In 2016, Dr. Heriot conducted a campus-wide survey to better understand food insecurity among HC students. The survey indicated that at least 30 percent of students had experienced some sort of food insecurity while in school.
“When you don’t know when or where your next meal is coming from, it impacts your grades severely,” Higgins said. “It’s important that we provide resources such as the Crimson Cupboard on campus so that students have the opportunity to focus on their grades, rather than their next meal.”