Philander Smith students learn and serve during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Young adult clients of Better Community Development shared their experiences with homelessness during a Nov. 15 “Faces of the Homeless” panel discussion. AUM PHOTOS BY AMY FORBUS

Young adult clients of Better Community Development shared their experiences with homelessness during a Nov. 15 “Faces of the Homeless” panel discussion.
AUM PHOTOS BY AMY FORBUS

Philander Smith College from Nov. 13 through 19 hosted Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, a time to learn about and address the needs of Central Arkansas’s homeless and food-insecure populations.

The week’s events included a charity basketball game; a winter clothing drive; a documentary screening with discussion; a panel discussion featuring young adults who have experienced homelessness; the gathering and blessing of more than 130 Thanksgiving food baskets for food-insecure households; a “One Night Without a Home” event, during which students spent an evening sleeping outdoors; and an advocacy letter writing workshop. A group of students capped off the week by participating in Ingathering, an Arkansas Conference event held at the Arkansas Foodbank.

Sponsored locally by the college’s Office of Religious Life and Campus Culture, and nationally by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, this annual program is a social movement designed to help educate students and the community on the plight of homelessness and hunger and to work collectively to identify ways to eradicate both.

Philander Smith College students participated in the 2016 Ingathering at the Arkansas Foodbank.

Philander Smith College students participated in the 2016 Ingathering at the Arkansas Foodbank.

“Hunger and homelessness are social injustices that plague our country and are particularly prevalent in Central Arkansas,” said the Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow, chaplain and dean of religious life and campus culture at the United Methodist-related institution. “This week is designed to provide our students with the awareness and abilities to make a difference in the lives of those who may be affected.”

In addition to the activities listed above, during the chapel service that included the blessing of the Thanksgiving baskets, Yow presented a $500 check in support of the 200,000 Reasons to Fight Childhood Hunger initiative to the Rev. J.J. Whitney, who chairs that Arkansas Conference effort.