TU fights national poverty, hunger

By: Sarah Rowan, Assistant News Editor

Towson University and its Office of Community Service recognized National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week Nov. 16-20 with events geared toward raising awareness of U.S. poverty.

The week recognized a nationwide effort to inform students about the issues of hunger and homelessness people face before the holiday season.

Office of Community Service graduate assistant Maggie Behlen coordinated and supervised the week’s events and student directors.

“This is something that is affecting the community and also students,” she said. “These are issues that are close to home with a lot of people.”

All week, the Maryland Food Bank collected canned food and clothing donations from Towson students.

Other events included a Hillel-sponsored baking event “Challah for Hunger,” where students came together to bake challah bread that was sold the next day at the University Union. The proceeds from the sales went to the Maryland Food Bank.

Students also had the opportunity to donate extra, unused meals toward the end of the week.

The week closed with a Nov. 20 service event at community nonprofit, ReStore, which sells furniture donations at a fraction of their original cost.

While Behlen coordinated and supervised the events, many of the events throughout the week were led by student service leaders.

Office of Student Activities Community Service Leader Maggy Kay worked with Behlen to plan the activities the week, as well as to spread advocacy and give Towson students a chance to serve in support of hunger and homelessness. Both Behlen and Kay were pleased with the student turnout to week’s events.

“I am so happy to have seen so many students come out to learn more and serve to support those experiencing hunger and homelessness in our community and all over the country during the week,” Kay said.

One of the week’s events, the iLEAD Workshop, brought student leaders from various campus groups together to learn how to properly lead using “educationally meaningful service.”

Madeleine Smith and Usjid Hameed led the event, and agreed on the importance of recognizing that poverty, homelessness and hunger are global issues that affect both worldwide communities and local communities.

“We just assume that we’re in this bubble of Towson sometimes,” Smith said. “It’s not about assuming things, it’s about understanding that there are people who need to be served around us.”

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