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USM Hosting Events Associated with Hunger and Homeless Awareness

Mon, 11/15/2021 - 11:18am | By: Van Arnold

In an effort to bring greater awareness to hunger and homelessness, the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is hosting a series of interactive events during the week of Nov. 15-19.

Christina Bracey, Events and Volunteerism Coordinator, notes that IME works within the Division of Student Affairs to create a welcoming environment that will help develop healthy, connected, and learning-focused students through programs, services, and student interactions.

“One of the ways our office ensures students are connected to themselves as well as the greater Hattiesburg area is through community engagement,” said Bracey. “Hunger and homelessness are a known population here. By getting involved in this project, we are connecting students to a demographic in their college city that is struggling and needs increased awareness. With increased awareness comes an increased willingness to serve and that is always the end goal.”

Scheduled events include:

Monday, Nov. 15th - Lunch and Learn 
Students will participate in 2 activities. The first being the SNAP Challenge, an activity that aims to raise awareness of hunger in the community and the need to keep SNAP strong. Students will be given a certain amount of money and use that to buy groceries/make a meal. The second is Choose It or Lose It where students will have 10 minutes to vacate their home and can only take what can fit in a backpack.

Tuesday, Nov. 16th - Service Night (Care Kits for the Homeless)

During this event, we will be taking all donated items and create care kits for the homeless community in the city of Hattiesburg. Dean of Students Sirena Cantrell will also be coming to speak on hunger and homelessness and how it impacts college students. The kits will be dropped off to community partners in Hattiesburg that serve the homeless population in our city.

Wednesday, Nov. 17th - Hunger Banquet and Eagle's Nest Volunteer Opportunity

The Hunger Banquet is an interactive event. Participants will need to donate at least 2 canned food items to enter and after that they will receive a "character card" outlining their name, where they are from, and if their income status (low, middle, high). The income status listed on your card will determine each participant's dining experience for the evening. There will be discussion topics throughout to reflect on the experience.

Eagle's Nest Food Pantry is an on-campus volunteer site that aims to serve the hunger and homelessness needs of our faculty, staff, and students. They are always in need of volunteers and have one-hour shifts available for sign-up on Get Connected

Thursday, Nov. 18th - Documentary & Discussion (Hungry for Love)

Hungry For Love is a forty-five-minute documentary about the daily needs and struggles of the homeless population in parts of North Carolina. Through this film, they travel to Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas and look at what the daily struggles of homelessness are, and how they get by day after day. Following this documentary, there will be a reflection activity.

Friday, Nov. 19th - Service Opportunity (Christian Services) 

Christian Services is a faith-based community party that serve in many capacities. They are needing volunteers to assist in their food pantry, thrift store, as well as assist with Thanksgiving Prep. Hour long shifts are available now for sign-up on Get Connected.

Bracey sums up the week-long project succinctly: “It is IME’s job to make sure we are doing what we can to lend a helping hand in every area of need in this city and even on this campus. We want to do what we can to leave Hattiesburg and our students better than we found them.”