Centre College has been hosting a hunger, poverty and/or homelessness event probably longer than this year’s organizer of Poverty and Homelessness has been working her way to the Danville campus.
Sophomore Christin Gong considers herself fortunate to organize the events. “With the help of Centre students, I believe Poverty and Homelessness Week will be a week to remember,” says Gong, a Centre Action Reaches Everyone executive.
Kate Wintuska, who is secretary for CARE, says Centre College Director of Student Life and Housing Ann Young found notes on old calendars about similar activities through the years.
“Quoting Ann Young, ‘It started as Hunger and Homelessness Week as part of a national campaign, Students against Hunger and Homelessness. When we moved, there were very few things I kept from being volunteer services director, but on my old calendars, I found in November 1988, we had a clothing drive; in 1989, we had Hunger Awareness Week. ...’ (I am) not sure what year the title changed — found an Oxfam fast in 1991, and in ’93 we had a food drive and a Hunger Banquet,” Wintuska says.
Thus, a hunger-poverty-homelessness event has been part of campus life pretty much since the CARE program began on a formal basis in 1988.
Gong says Poverty and Homelessness Week is geared toward raising awareness of those two topics and how they affect communities. Several events are scheduled, some of which are open to the community. They include:
* Monday: 7:30 p.m., author Wendell Berry, Weisiger Theatre, open to the public. As part of the Humana/Library Speaker Series, well-known Kentucky author Wendell Berry will read from his works. Among his many works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry are “Jayber Crow” (2000), “That Distant Land” (2002), “Hannah Coulter” (2004), “The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry” (1998),” Given: New Poems” (2005), “A World Lost” (1996), “The Art of the Commonplace” (2002), and his newest, “Leavings” (2009).
* Tuesday: 7:30 p.m., “Uprooting Poverty in Appalachia” convocation, Vahlkamp Theatre, open to the public. Centre graduate Randy Wilson, a mountaintop removal activist, will make the connections with the conditions in which people live in Appalachia such as poverty and lack of job alternatives. He will be accompanied by a leader of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, who will talk about creating new economic opportunities in eastern Kentucky.
* Wednesday: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., World Marketplace, campus center in Ewen, open to the public. Booths from fair trade and specialized marketing organizations will be set-up in the student center for people to purchase goods and learn about organizations involved with poverty.
* Nov. 18: 11:30 a.m., Oxfam Fast in Ewen, students only. Sodexo will donate a portion of the money students would normally pay from their meal plan for lunch to the hunger relief efforts of Oxfam. An educational conversation will be held during common hour, where students will process the hunger experience and share some education about worldwide hunger. From 6 to 7 p.m., a “hunger banquet” will be held in Ewen, which will allow students to experience first-hand how their decisions affect others in the world.
* Nov. 20: beginning at 10 a.m., canned food drive, open to the public. Centre students will go door to door around the Danville community to ask for canned food for families less fortunate. All cans will go to Harvesting Hope and the Danville Food Bank.
Gong says most of this year’s activities are similar to last year’s.
“This year, we are privileged to have Mr. Wendell Berry speak at Centre. He is a well-known Kentucky author, and he will be reading from his works,” she says.
The most popular event is the food drive, Gong adds.
“Last year, we had a great success. The residents of Danville were very welcoming to the students, and the students enjoyed every minute of it,” she explains. “This year, we want the whole community involved. We will have a box by the doors of the campus center for people who will not be at their homes when the Centre students are in the neighborhood. The food drive generally lasts from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“The World Marketplace has always been great, as well. The World Marketplace is where handmade crafts sold by specialized marketing organizations will be held upstairs of the campus center. The booths are from fair trade. Some of the organizations are Serrv and Bead for Life. This is a great way to buy original Christmas gifts for families and friends.”
Wintuska adds collection bins can be found at The Hub and the Centre College student center.