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5C Hunger Awareness Week Presents Diverse Events to Help Students Understand Impact of Hunger

The Draper Center for Community Partnerships, 5C Challah for Hunger and Pomona residence halls staff (RHS) have joined together to sponsor a series of events aimed at raising awareness of hunger issues.

The Draper Center originally came up with the idea for hunger-awareness events last year as a way to add an important aspect to the Food Recovery Network (FRN), says Angelica Townsend ’13, an organizer for 5C Hunger Awareness Week and a student coordinator at Draper Center. FRN delivers unused, leftover food from campus to the Inland Hope Partners Shelter.

“We saw that there was a need to increase awareness about the issues of hunger and how it manifests within our society both nationally and globally,” says Townsend. “Last year, we revived the Hunger Awareness Banquet and added a couple of more events, a screening of Civil Indigent and a community engagement event with a transitional housing facility, to encompass our Hunger Awareness Week. This year, we plan on making the events even bigger and better by providing more opportunities for the Claremont Colleges’ ccommunity to participate in these hunger awareness events.”

Maria Tucker, director of the Draper Center, says there is a great need locally to address this issue. "The city of San Bernardino, which is less than 30 minutes from the College, has the second-highest rate of hunger in the country. This is something that innovative and compassionate Pomona students can and do address," says Tucker. "More than 400 students each year engage in a community-based event or activity through Draper Center programs and five of the programs address hunger and/or homelessness: Food Recovery Network, Alternabreak, Rooftop Garden, Coronado Garden, and Sagehens Engage. Together, these programs are responsible for the provision of over 10,000 meals in the local community."

The 5C Hunger Awareness Week kicks off tonight with a screening of Hunger Hits Home, a documentary about the crisis of childhood hunger in America. The screening, which begins at 8 p.m. in Rose Hills Theatre, will be followed by a critical discussion on how this crisis affects our community and how students can help alleviate the effects of childhood hunger.

The Social Justice Gala, which takes place Friday night at 7 p.m. in Edmunds Ballroom, will raise awareness about hunger in the Inland Empire with a panel discussion featuring speakers from Second Harvest of San Bernardino, Inland Valley Hope Partners and the L.A. Regional Food Bank. Following the talk will be a challah tasting, jazz music, mingling and a raffle, proceeds from which will benefit Kids Pack, which provides students in free lunch programs with healthy food on weekends. Representatives from SOCA, Nourish International, KSPC, RHS, Chicano/Latino Student Affairs Center and others will be on hand to talk about their programs and to raffle off items.

The Sagehens Engage! Community Engagement event on Saturday morning encourages students to volunteer with Pomona Valley Christian Center to help prepare and serve food to those who need it most. And finally, the Hunger Banquet on Sunday afternoon will provide insight into the vagaries of socioeconomic status and what it feels like to struggle against a cycle of poverty. At the interactive event, the place where diners sit and the meal they eat will be determined by a random drawing, “just as in real life some of us are born into relative prosperity and others into poverty.” The event will feature a speaker from Uncommon Good.

The events are for the 5C community only, except for the Hunger Awareness Banquet, which requires a sign-up at http://bit.ly/QV93ey. All events are free but monetary (cash, Claremont cash) and canned food donations will be accepted at the film screening and the Hunger Banquet, and will go to the SOVA Food and Resource Program, which provides free groceries and other services to more than 12,000 people in the Los Angeles area.

"I hope that people leave these events with a greater understanding of the circumstances that surround the issues of hunger and that even though we may seem like an affluent country, we have problems within our own communities that we must try to, first, be aware of, and second, solve," says Townsend. "Also, I would like them to go away with the idea that we have the power to do something about it and there are avenues at the Draper Center and within our communities that try to alleviate these issues."

A small committee, made up of Townsend, Hirut Mamo ’13, Nathalie Folkerts ’16 and Boyu Liu ’16, assisted in planning the events. The Social Justice Gala was organized by 5C Challah for Hunger in partnership with SOCA, Nourish International, KSPC, RHS and Chicano/Latino Student Affairs Sponsor Program.