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The Richter Center Student Leaders

Service. Community. Integrity. Growth.

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Hunger

Raising Awareness for Hunger and Homelessness

Fresno State students volunteer to raise awareness about hunger and homelessness. Photo Courtesy of: Food Recovery Network

As the holidays approach, individuals take the time to reflect about what they are thankful for and are often more willing to donate food, some of their time, and attention to those less fortunate. Because people are filled with the spirit of thankfulness and giving back, the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness sets aside the week prior to Thanksgiving every year to sponsor the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. During this week, more than 750 high schools, universities and community groups all across the nation unite to raise awareness about hunger and homelessness. This year, NHHAW will take place November 17th-22nd on our campus.  Fresno State will be participating in NHHAW through the engagement of service learning classes, clubs and organizations in different events and activities to bring awareness to these social issues in the nation, California and the San Joaquin Valley.

Your participation in the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week will not only help raise awareness for the community, but can help build your leadership skills as you collaborate with your friends, classmates and other student leaders.  Collectively, we can work to eliminate the myth that hunger and homelessness are inevitable in our society and instead realize that ending hunger and homelessness is attainable.

I encourage you or your organization to participate in the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. You might know someone who is affected by hunger or homelessness. You might know someone who knows someone who is affected by these issues. Regardless, think about why this week is important and the impact your service can have on our community.

What ideas do you have that can help raise awareness about hunger and homelessness?

If you cannot donate your time, what else can you do to end hunger and homelessness?

~Ambassador Juan

Mission Possible: Fresno State’s Food Recovery Network

Volunteers are ready to serve delicious recovered food! Photo credit: Fresno State FRN Facebook page
Volunteers are ready to serve delicious recovered food! Photo credit: Fresno State FRN Facebook page

Every Friday, a group of Fresno State students  from our new chapter of the Food Recovery Network is given an incredible, not-so-secret mission: help combat hunger in Fresno! They split up and strategically collect food that, under normal conditions, would have been thrown away. This is yummy cuisine that has been prepared, but never served, from restaurants and vendors around Fresno. There is a time frame in which the students may recover the food from various locations (including, but not limited to produce from a local farmer’s market, DiCicco’s, Dusty Buns, and Fresno State’s University Dining Hall). Once all the food has been collected, they then reconvene at St. Paul’s Catholic Newman Center, and are charged with the next portion of their mission: to prepare a meal from the delicious victuals they’ve recovered. A team of committed volunteers from the Newman Center and the Fresno State students creates a menu and cooks up a storm! In the end, anyone is welcome to a free hot meal, at 6:30 pm Friday night, in the cafeteria at the Newman Center.

Recovered produce from the farmer's market will go to hungry Fresno residents! Photo credit: Fresno State FRN Facebook page
Recovered produce from the farmer’s market will go to hungry Fresno residents! Photo credit: Fresno State FRN Facebook page
I have been volunteering at the Friday night dinners since they began this past summer. They require a lot of work; we have anywhere from 50-80 dinner guests per week! As I’ve volunteered, I have gained a lot of experience with food preparation, as well as learned more and more about the issue of food insecurity in our valley, and in the Fresno area. On an even smaller scale, I learned that 1 in every 3 Fresno State Students is “food insecure”. That is too many hungry students! Luckily, I can assure you that those in positions of leadership on our campus have been meeting and developing ideas for a brighter future for our hungry students, and students are encouraged to keep ears open for news of new programs and supports.
The Food Recovery Network at Fresno State has already begun making waves; we’ve even made it in the media!
Many guests enjoy a fun Friday night meal. Photo credit: Fresno State FRN Facebook page
Many guests enjoy a fun Friday night meal. Photo credit: Fresno State FRN Facebook page
Bright ideas and inspiration are always encouraged, and student volunteers are welcome! You can see the steps to becoming an active volunteer here, and contact directors Dr. Janine Nkosi and Dr. Sarah Whitley, or President Rose Cardoso for more information. At the very least, please join us for dinner one Friday night. We don’t want any food to go to waste!
How can you complete the mission to solve Fresno’s hunger problem?
~Ambassador Lilliana

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