For the Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Hunger strikes all people at different times of the day. That grumbling pressure in the stomach urges the person to find some food. Some people have the luxury of being able to open a cabinet and dig in, while others face a bare pantry. Global hunger now afflicts 1 billion people worldwide, according to the World Hunger Education Service.
For the 17th year at St. Ambrose University, the Campus Ministry Department has organized Hunger Week. They use this week as a way to raise awareness about local and global hunger issues. From Nov. 3 through 8, students were encouraged to donate canned foods in their residence halls. After all of the non-perishable items were collected, they were brought to several food pantries in town including Central Community Circle Food Pantry and to Café on Vine meal site. Students were also able to take pictures of their meals and post them on social media using the hashtag #mealforameal to help fight hunger in Australia. A meal was donated each time a picture was posted.
“As Ambrosians we care for the people around us. We know that students don’t always have a lot of time to get involved, so these are just some of the ways they can make a difference,” Kaitlin Depuydt, director of co-curricular service said.
On Nov. 3, Hunger Week kicked off with the Brewed Awakening event held in the chapel gathering space. The event is intended to give off a welcoming atmosphere similar to that found in a coffee house. Attendees heard about the Faces of Hunger from Depuydt as she shared her experience of living in a Catholic Worker home that served 10 meals each week to those in need.
The following day, GreenLife Club held a free-will donation bake sale to raise money for Oxfam. Oxfam uses the donations to purchase livestock and other necessities in impoverished areas in order to help the areas become sustainable.
On Nov. 6, a table was set up in the St. Ambrose University’s Cosgrove cafeteria with a petition for students to sign. This petition was for the Water for the World Act and asked Congress to lend support to their cause. Water Aid, the organization behind the cause, works in 26 of the world’s poorest countries helping communities set up and manage practical and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene projects.
“All of our events during Hunger Week have evolved over the years. Having these different opportunities we are able to broaden our reach to give the back to those who need it the most,” Depuydt said.
Hunger Week came to a close Nov. 8. In the morning, students and faculty were able to watch “A Place at the Table” documentary in McCarthy Hall. The documentary dives into world hunger and investigates hunger crises experienced by millions of Americans, while also proposing solutions. Later that night, the final event, called The Hungry Games, wrapped up the week’s proceedings. Students were nominated from each residence hall to compete in different events. The faster times determined who would be the winner, but by donating canned food, students could decrease their times. The ultimate prize included movie tickets to the upcoming release of “Mockingjay,” the final installation in the Hunger Games trilogy. Starting this year, faculty departments were also paired with different halls to act as sponsors.
Chronic hunger affects more than 925 million people in the world and is often a deadly condition. However, it is not just the hunger that affects the world, but 748 million people also do not have access to safe, clean water. Hunger Week was a way for students — both those who had experienced hunger in their lifetimes and those who had not — to be able to help those currently struggling.
(Chris Scudder is a staff writer for St. Ambrose University’s The Buzz. This article was first published in The Buzz.)