UT Students to Raise Awareness of Hunger, Homelessness

Published: Nov 2, 2007
For some, to hear a formerly homeless person talk about their experiences living on the street is enough to put a face and voice to the issues of hunger and homelessness in the community. For others it may be the actual experience of living on the street for a night or going without a meal that drives home the reality of these issues.

These experiences are the purpose behind National Hunger and Homelessness Week, which will take place Nov. 5-11 on the University of Tampa campus with a series of advocacy events organized by the student group P.E.A.C.E. (People Exploring Active Community Experiences).

“We want to make students realize that you could be one paycheck or one fire away from being homeless,” said Carrie Collins, a student coordinator for P.E.A.C.E. “Our main goal is to bring awareness to students at UT about the current statistics for hunger in the world and homelessness in the Tampa Bay area.”

Among the week’s events is The Faces of Homelessness Panel, in which formerly homeless individuals from Washington D.C. and Tampa Bay speak about their experiences on the streets. The panel will take place in two sessions at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 5, in Reeves Theater in UT’s Vaughn Center.

An Oxfam Hunger Banquet will also be held Thursday, Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. in Plant Hall’s Music Room. The Banquet includes a simulation designed to reflect real-life food disparities between the people of different countries, bringing the hunger issue center stage.

Closing out the week, students will camp out on the lawn in front of the John Sykes College of Business on Friday night as part of Sleep Out for the Homeless. An event that traditionally has drawn a heavy turnout, the Sleep Out allows students to experience a night on the streets as they listen to local speakers and work to raise funds for the National Coalition for the Homeless.

In addition to the three main events, the P.E.A.C.E. volunteer center will be collecting “Harvest Backpacks” throughout the month of November from students and organizations. The backpacks contain assorted hygiene and nonperishable food items, which will later be given to homeless individuals. The organization will also be collecting canned goods to be included in “Boxes of Hope,” holiday meals that will be distributed to low-income families at Metropolitan Ministries.

Information packets about Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and how students and organizations can participate are available in the P.E.A.C.E. volunteer center, located in Vaughn Center Room 206.

For more information, contact the P.E.A.C.E. office at peace@ut.edu.