Poverty and Homelessness Week raises awareness at Centre
The Centre community is invited to raise awareness about the difficulties many Americans face by participating in daily events for Poverty and Homelessness Week, Nov. 14-18.
“The importance of Poverty and Homelessness Week is to show students through action and word of mouth the value of humanity,” says Christin Gong ’13, treasurer for Centre Action Reaches Everyone (CARE). “As students, we can sometimes overlook our community and the people in need. Poverty and Homelessness Week helps to remind the students that poverty is prevalent everywhere, and they can help.”
An annual occurrence, Poverty and Homelessness Week kicks off with the Farm to Cafeteria Banquet on Monday, Nov. 14, from 5-7 p.m. in the Combs Center. The food served at the banquet will be made entirely from goods produced in the region.
“The banquet is meant to start a discussion about what we at Centre can do to promote local and sustainable food — and why doing so is an ethical obligation,” says assistant professor of philosophy Daniel Kirchner. “One of the central difficulties in doing so is in battling the notion that local sustainable food is more expensive, and answering the problems of poverty and food justice that we already have to try to address even without advocating for local food.”
Following the meal will be a discussion about making ethical decisions in regards to food, including how those who are impoverished can eat in a sustainable way. As registration is required to attend the banquet, contact Shayne Jarman at firstname.lastname@example.org about availability of tickets.
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, an OxFam Fast will take place during lunch. Participants are encouraged to visit the Campus Center to make a donation to OxFam. Later that day, a documentary on homelessness in America will be screened, with the time and location yet to be determined.
Students and community members can purchase handmade items from artists around the world at A World Marketplace. The event will take place in the Ewen Room of the Campus Center from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Proceeds benefit a variety of causes, including SERRV and Beads for Life.
Ben Sollee, a virtuoso cellist from Lexington, will perform and discuss environmental responsibility in a convocation on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. in Weisiger Theatre. Sollee intends to raise awareness of mountaintop removal in Appalachia and its effects on the surrounding communities.
“It’s easy to get comfortable in the Centre Bubble. I really hope that Ben, and Poverty and Homelessness Week in general, push us to take action to improve a region of the United States that runs through our state,” says Anne Evans ’12, who played a part in bringing Sollee to Centre for Poverty and Homelessness Week. “Hopefully, we’ll all feel encouraged to genuinely think of all people as valuable and then to also make others feel valuable, no matter what their economic status or education level is.”
Later in the evening on Nov. 17, Alpha Phi Omega, Centre’s service fraternity, will have its annual Box Sleep-Out, spending the night sleeping in boxes in front of Old Centre.
“Box Sleep Out is a yearly event APO does in order to raise awareness of the poverty and homelessness issue facing America,” says Michael Risley ’12. “The Sleep Out is completely open to anyone who would like to attend, and we would love for non-APO members to come.”
Poverty and Homelessness Week will close with the OxFam Hunger Banquet on Friday, Nov. 18.
“I love all the events, but the most eye-opening event for me is the Hunger Banquet,” Gong says. “We all say we know what poverty feels like because we see people who are impoverished, but the Hunger Banquet allows the separation of poverty and the rest of the world sink in. The Hunger Banquet is a simulation that I feel everyone should experience at least once. It’s definitely my favorite my event!”
The students involved with Poverty and Homelessness Week hope each event inspires the Centre community to look at the world in a different light and help improve it in some way.
“I hope that students take away a greater awareness and understanding of the poverty in our community, our country and our world,” says Ethan Epping ’12. “It’s easy to insulate yourself at Centre, oblivious to problems outside of your next test or paper, but when there are people struggling to feed their families, it puts our issues as Centre students in a whole new perspective.”
“Hopefully, it will help students, who easily become stressed about a C on an exam, put things back into perspective,” adds Evans. “In a nutshell, the message I hope our community takes away from this week is the importance of people helping people.”