Giving to the hungry and homeless

Gannon University’s annual Hunger and Homelessness week begins Nov. 16. Events throughout the week are designed to inspire a change in student views about homelessness and to create social change through Gannon students.

Student groups and organizations are currently being asked to sign up for the Thanksgiving Food Basket Project.  Groups interested in creating and donating a themed basket to a recently resettled refugee family can fill out the volunteer form on EngageU.

The form will be available until Friday.  A shopping list for the basket is provided. Shopping lists are culturally appropriate for the families receiving the baskets.

Groups will then focus on decorating and filling their basket.  Completed baskets are due in the Waldron Piano Lounge between 10 and 11 a.m. Nov. 20.

On Nov. 16, the entire Gannon community is encouraged to participate in a variety of activities, beginning with a viewing of the movie “Storied Streets” and a T-shirt making event will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at a yet to be determined location. Nov. 18, Soup with Substance, the keynote event, will be held in Yehl from 5 to 6:30p.m.

The donated, decorated Thanksgiving Food Baskets will be on display in Waldron 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 20,  and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 21,.

Staff and students are encouraged to vote for their favorite basket while making monetary donations in a penny wars style fundraiser. All proceeds will be donated to host a dinner at the First Presbyterian Church and to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The week concludes Nov. 22, with delivery of the baskets to area refugee families by the student groups who volunteered.  In order for student groups to receive service credit, two to three members of the group must be present in the Yehl Ballroom at 11 a.m.

The program will begin with a brief orientation from Catholic Charities.   Afterward, members will take their decorated basket to the refugee family for whom they shopped and visit with the family for 20 to 30 minutes. Upon return to the ballroom students will reflect on their experience and the program will conclude at 1 p.m.

Justine Bensur, lead student chair of Hunger and Homelessness Week, is hoping that through this event, students will learn to act on these issues in their daily lives.

“Through Hunger and Homelessness Week, my hope is not only for students to become more educated about the issues of hunger and homelessness, but to be inspired to take action on these issues in whatever means of service or social change draws them most,” Bensur said.

“A common question about the issue is ‘What do I do if I meet a homeless person on the street?’ and my hope is that through the events we have to offer, people are better able to discern the answer to this question.”

Interested groups or individuals with further questions are asked to contact either Jared Wilczynski at [email protected], Bensur at [email protected] or Jessie Badach Hubert at [email protected]


[email protected]