As part of a national effort to raise awareness and money for the homeless, STEP [Students Together Ending Poverty], in honor of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, will be holding several activities through Friday.
“The purpose of [these activities] is to raise awareness campus-wide on hunger and homelessness by bringing the troubles of the homeless to people that are not exposed to it,” said Daniel Pedreira, freshman and active STEP member.
Pedreira has helped prepare for the event by creating one of many display boards that will be placed around campus to provide students with information concerning poverty.
Among the activities that STEP has organized are a sleep-out on the Rock that was scheduled for Monday and a luncheon entitled “Faces of the Homeless” which will take place today in the UC Flamingo ballroom at 4 p.m. Scheduled guest speakers will be people affected by poverty.
“There is a common misconception that a lot of homeless people are on drugs or choose to be homeless,” said Leandra Medina, coordinator of the William R. Butler Volunteer Services Center. “Part of the purpose of this week is to understand that there are more circumstances to the problem than simply people being lazy and drug addicts.”
Also, on Thursday, the “Empty Bowls Project” is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the UC breezeway. One free scoop of ice cream, donated from Carvel, will be given to those who purchase either a two, five or 10 dollar bowl.
The five dollar bowls will be made by STEP members and the 10 dollar bowls will be donations from the ceramics department.
The week-long events will culminate with a Skip-a-Meal project in the campus cafeteria, where students can sign up to skip a meal.
Proceeds from the Empty Bowl Project and Skip-a-Meal will go to various homeless shelters.
The National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness encourage cities, communities and schools to organize activities like those taking place at UM.
Students can contribute to the cause by donating non-perishable foods and clothing throughout the week.
Donations should be dropped off at UC 240.
For more information on National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week or for information on how to get involved, contact STEP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-284-GIVE.
Paul Fajardo can be contacted at email@example.com.