Event Idea: Friendsgiving

FriendsgivingOne in six kids in America today face hunger. But you could change that statistic through the power of friendship.

One of our partners, Generation No Kid Hungry, offers a fun and easy way for you and your friends to give back to kids in need. By organizing a Friendsgiving to support No Kid Hungry, you can use this holiday to fight childhood hunger.

The idea is simple. If you'll be organizing a Friendsgiving -- a gathering of friends to celebrate a Thanksgiving-style meal -- turn it into a fundraiser. Sign up at the Friendsgiving for No Kid Hungry website and register your event. You can then give your invited guests easy fundraising tools that they can use to raise money in honor of the holiday. The money raised will go to help fight childhood hunger.

Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week can be a great time to organize a Friendsgiving. It's a chance to celebrate the holiday with your friends (and fight childhood hunger) before you spend Thanksgiving with your family.


Event Idea: Take the SNAP Challenge

SNAPAs part of your Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week, consider holding a SNAP Challenge.

The SNAP Challenge, sometimes called the Food Stamp Challenge, is an event where participants attempt to eat on a food stamp budget for a week. Being forced to live on that budget and make difficult choices -- trying to avoid hunger and still find nutritious food -- can be an eye-opening experience for participants.

The Challenge has been taken by thousands of activists and volunteers, as well as by reporters, celebrities, and members of Congress.

By hosting a Challenge, you can help raise awareness of hunger in your community and the need to keep the federal SNAP program strong. While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families, it does provide Challenge participants with a new perspective and greater understanding, plus the ability to more effectively advocate for the SNAP program. Your participants can also educate the public about SNAP by documenting their experience on social media.

Download the SNAP Challenge organizing toolkit on FRAC's website.


Advocacy Theme: The Criminalization of Homelessness

War on the PoorEach year, we try to choose one policy issue as an advocacy theme for Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. For the past couple years, our theme has been the criminalization of people experiencing homelessness.

In recent years, communities large and small have made it a crime to not have a stable place to call home. Many cities have made a large number of activities illegal, including:

  • Sharing food with people experiencing homelessness in a public space;
  • Sitting in a public space;
  • Laying down in a public space;
  • Setting up a tent on public property; and
  • Panhandling.

When a person experiencing homelessness commits any of these life-sustaining acts, they may face a fine or even jail time.

These issues have fundamental implications for us all. There are many ways to address criminalization in your community. The first thing you should do is to educate yourself on the laws in your community. This can be done by reaching out to local service providers, who will usually be familiar with any local laws that affect people who are experiencing homelessness. You can also call your local parks and recreation department to ask about any ordinances that relate to camping or to sharing food with people experiencing homelessness.

Once you know which laws are on the books in your community, you can hold educational events to raise awareness about this problem. Some examples:

  • Holding a rally or a march in front of your city hall or state house;
  • Collecting petition signatures from your community about overturning a particular ordinance; or
  • Holding a sleep-out in front of your local legislator's office to address a camping ordinance.

These are just a few options for ways to address this very important issue. When the most vulnerable members of your community are targeted just for trying to survive, we must all speak out to overturn this injustice.

Learn more here.


Event Idea: Drive to Hunger Awareness

Drive to Hunger AwarenessTwo of our partners, the Campus Kitchens Project and Generation No Kid Hungry, have teamed up to create an event called the Drive to Hunger Awareness. This event can be a great addition to Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Weeks held on high school and college campuses.

The Drive to Hunger Awareness consists of a food drive, hunger awareness forum, and advocacy opportunities. It combines the tangible action of a food drive with additional activities that encourage and promote future engagement around food insecurity.

Attendees are asked to bring canned foods for donation to a local campus or community organization (e.g, a food pantry, backpack program, etc.). The event can run anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours, with time allocated for the forum (guest speakers and Q&A) in the beginning, followed by activities and door prize distribution. Each speaker should be allotted a maximum of 15 minutes, so the forum can run more like a discussion rather than a lecture.

Learn more about how to organize this event at the Drive to Hunger Awareness website.


Spotlight: Southwestern College

Jag KitchenSouthwestern College in Chula Vista, CA, has big plans for their 2017 Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. The Jag Kitchen Food Pantry is spearheading their effort.

Already, Southwestern has a packed schedule of events on their calendar, including a panel discussion on student hunger and homelessness, a movie screening, a clothing and toiletry drive, and a volunteer event to assemble care packages.

In addition, Southwestern has lined up an impressive list of partners to help with their efforts, including the campus Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Veterans' Resource Center, the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, and their local farmers market, food bank, and credit union.

Event Calendar


Meet Our Partners

The success of Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week depends on the support of hundreds of local and national groups. This year, we have roughly 30 national organizations that are serving as promotional partners for H&H Week. These groups are helping to spread the word about H&H Week through their networks and their contacts. For that, we are deeply grateful.

You can see the full list of partners on the Partners page. Here are just a few of the amazing groups that are partners this year.

Campus Kitchens

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Generation No Kid Hungry

NHCHC


Get Your Posters and Stickers

This year, we've created some new materials to help you promote Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. If you register your event on this website, we'll send you a few of these new H&H Week posters and stickers (as long as supplies last).

For the curious, here's the poster:

Poster

And here's the sticker:

Sticker


A Few of this Year’s College Highlights

We've just wrapped up this year's amazing Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. We're still sifting through all of the great stories about this year's events. Here we wanted to share just a few of the best events organized on college campuses.

College of Charleston

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Villanova University

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University of Central Florida

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Spotlight: Towson University

Towson Clothing DriveAt Towson University, the Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership organizes Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

Their latest Awareness Week features a mixture of community service opportunities and awareness-raising events. For their biggest service event, students joined with Clay Pots, a local community center, to clean up and beautify a neighborhood in southwest Baltimore. During the week, volunteers also assembled personal care kits for people experiencing homelessness and made PB&J sandwiches for a local food bank.

To raise awareness and educate the public, the Office of Civic Engagement and Leadership held a panel discussion on local homelessness and a movie screening. They also organized a week-long food and clothing drive to support local food banks and shelters.

Towson H&H Week


Resource: Sample Press Release

The mainstream media can be a powerful tool to educate the public and rally their support. You should invite your local media outlets to cover your Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week events. Here's how:

  • Make a list of the media outlets in your community. Include local newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, and blogs.
  • Identify the appropriate contact person at each outlet and find out their email address and phone number. For newspapers, you want the metro editor; for TV and radio stations, you want the news editor.
  • Write a press release for your Awareness Week. You can use the sample below as a template.
  • At the beginning of the week, email your press release to the contact person at each media outlet.
  • Call each media outlet to make sure they received the press release and encourage them to cover your events.

Here's a sample press release for you to use:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 14, 2016

CONTACT:
NAME, ORGANIZATION
PHONE, EMAIL

YOUR COMMUNITY Takes Stand against Hunger and Homelessness
Local Group Kicks Off Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Today, YOUR ORGANIZATION kicked off Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, an annual week of action where local volunteers come together to draw attention to poverty in YOUR COMMUNITY. Participants will spend the week holding educational, community service, fundraising, and advocacy events to address these critical issues.

“This is the time of year when we all reflect on our lives, finding gratitude and peace in where and who we are,” said SPOKESPERSON from YOUR GROUP. “But there are so many families that will not be able to come together during the season, torn apart by hunger and homelessness.”

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is co-sponsored nationally by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. The event originated at Villanova University in 1975, and now takes place in nearly 700 communities across the country.

“Hunger and homelessness are epidemics that sadly affect too many members of our community,” said SPOKESPERSON. “Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is an opportunity for us to tackle these issues head on, rally public support, and call for solutions.”

The events planned for the week include:

  • PROVIDE A DESCRIPTION FOR EACH EVENT IN YOUR WEEK
  • MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE DATE, TIME, AND LOCATION

For information about Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, visit http://hhweek.org.

# # #

ADD DESCRIPTION OF YOUR ORGANIZATION