The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Week promotes hunger awareness

Every year, the Center for Social Concerns and student leaders bring awareness to Gannon University about the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week – NHHAW.

NHHAW is an annual event held on college campuses the week before Thanksgiving to give students the chance to take action against hunger and homelessness issues, Jessie Badach-Hubert, assistant director for the Center for Social Concerns, said.

NHHAW gives the opportunity for students to deepen their leadership skills and gain experiences in social justice and advocacy, Hubert said.

“It creates space for a university-wide culture of reflection of how we can better be living our individual and institutional commitments to upholding the dignity of all people,” Hubert said.

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The keynote event, Soup with Substance, was held Tuesday in the Yehl Ballroom. Two guest speakers – Cortez McDaniel and Norman Hungerford – from Father McKenna Center in Washington, D.C., presented their experience with homelessness.

A simple soup dinner was served at the event to stand in solidarity with people who do not have enough to eat, Hubert said.

McDaniel shared his story about playing Division I football at Virginia Tech in college where he was heading for the pros. However, after an injury sidelined him from doing so, McDaniel turned to drugs and eventually ended up in prison.

When he got out of prison, he was homeless for some time. Now, McDaniel is a staff member at the Father McKenna Center.

The Hunger and Homelessness Week’s events are co-sponsored by the Hunger and Homelessness Week student group, Center for Social Concerns and the Activities Program Board.

Hubert is expecting 150 people to attend this event.

“The events are deliberately structured so that there are a variety of ways to meet people and engage with them where they are,” Hubert said.  “But also to invite them to the next, deeper level of engagement with the issues.”

The events throughout the week also provide students with a variety of ways to engage with the issues of homelessness, Hubert said.

There are opportunities to donate money to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania in a penny war from 11 a.m.-noon on Thursday and Friday in the main hallway of the Waldron Campus Center.

David McCartney, a junior biology pre-med major, is one of the four team leaders for this year’s NHHAW. The team leaders work the whole semester organize different events for the week.

McCartney said he finds this week to be an opportunity to help change the stigma that surrounds homelessness.

“Many people believe the stereotype that people suffering from homelessness are lazy or drug addicts,” McCartney said. “What they don’t realize is that may be true in some cases, but that doesn’t always apply.”

There will be a weekend showing of “The Pursuit of Happyness,” and also an informational reading before the movie from the four team leaders – Madeline Pelc, McCartney, Justine Bensur and Victoria Quagliana.

Over the summer, McCartney traveled with the university to Washington, D.C., in an alternative break service trip focused on hunger and homelessness in the D.C. area.

“The desire to help others has always been with me, but the means to bring about change is the hard part,” McCartney said. “After the trip, I realized that there are small things that we can do on campus to help change the stigma of the homeless.”

Pelc said homelessness and poverty is unknown to most people and the events for the week can educate the university about it.

“This is a time for personal experience and growth,” Pelc said. “I know what it feels like to be less fortunate and I will do whatever I can to help educate others to grasp a better understanding on the issue of homelessness.”




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