More 2016 Highlights

Every year there are countless incredible events that take place during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. As we gear up for this year's Awareness Week, we wanted to highlight a few of last year's most interesting events.

The Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign in Florida used their Awareness Week to educate their local Green Party on the importance of creating and implementing a Homeless Bill of Rights. This is a great way to advocate against the criminalization of people experiencing homelessness.

In Washington, Help Us Move In held a benefit concert. All proceeds from the concert were matched and 100% of the funds went to assist children and their families to escape homelessness. This is a great and unique way to raise awareness and directly assist your community members.

We'd also like to highlight U.S. VETS Homeless Feeding and Housing Services, based in Los Angeles, California. This group provided the homeless with clean clothes and on-the-spot housing intake placement. Volunteers donated cooked meals and served them to homeless vets living on the streets of Skid Row, the homeless capital of the United States.

Every group that participates in Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week does incredible work to end food insecurity and homelessness in their community. Thank you for your work and your participation. Collectively we can eradicate hunger and homelessness in the U.S. forever.

Event Idea: Oxfam Hunger Banquet

OxfamOn the Thursday before Thanksgiving in 1974, something remarkable happened. Responding to Oxfam’s call, 250,000 people nationwide participated in the first Oxfam America Fast for a World Harvest. They fasted either for the day or for a meal, raising awareness about hunger and donating their food money to Oxfam, an organization committed to utilizing the power of people against poverty. Thus began a national movement to alleviate hunger and poverty.

Today, when you bring people together at an Oxfam Hunger Banquet, you can become part of this movement. Over the past four decades, more than 875,000 people have attended this event around the country (and even around the world!). If you’ve been looking for ways to make an impact and engage your community, hosting an Oxfam Hunger Banquet is an excellent way to do so!

How does it work? At an Oxfam Hunger Banquet, guests take on the roles of people who are well-fed, hungry, or somewhere in between, randomly drawing tickets that assign them to different income levels. Some receive a filling dinner, while others eat a simple meal or share sparse portions of rice and water. Participants may even take on the roles of real people from around the world to see what it's like to be in someone else's shoes.

Lucky for you, we’ve done all the gritty work to make hosting an Oxfam Hunger Banquet as easy as possible. Just click the following links to check out the free resources to get you started:

  • Find out more about the event on our website.
  • Download the Oxfam Hunger Banquet toolkit here, which includes a script and a focus on famines.
  • Order free materials (stickers, posters, fact sheets, etc.) here. Our Social Media Suite includes Facebook event banners and social media shareables.

Our top three tips for hosting an Oxfam Hunger Banquet are:

  • Invite everyone! Think outside the box as to who you could invite. How about local advocacy groups that you know? Post on your local newpaper's event calendar or on Eventbrite.
  • Promote using social media! Our website includes sample social media posts already written for you. Use #OxfamHungerBanquet so we can see and promote your event, too!
  • Encourage your participants to take action. Invite them to bring canned goods for a local food pantry or to text ACTNOW to 97779 to join Oxfam’s community.

No matter what food they're served, people talk about this event as a deeply moving experience. They leave with a greater understanding of the causes of poverty, hunger, and injustice – and with the tools and knowledge to change it. Good luck, and contact us if you need anything! Our team is here to help.

Oxfam is a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty. They help people build better futures for themselves, hold the powerful accountable, and save lives in disasters. Oxfam's mission is to tackle the root causes of poverty and create lasting solutions.

And the Winner Is…

We're excited to announce that we will be giving out awards this year to the very best Awareness Weeks around the country. We want to honor the groups that really go above and beyond to make this event great.

The awards we give out will include:
Best Awareness Week
Best First-Time Awareness Week
Best Food and Clothing Drive
Best Advocacy Event
Best Fundraising Event
Best Volunteer Event
Best Awareness Week Organizer (for an individual).

To be eligible for an award, you will need to have registered your event with this website and you will need to fill out the after-event report that we send you in late November.

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


Generation No Kid Hungry


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:


And here's the sticker: