Raising Awareness for the Homeless and Hungry
SSWO Hosts Events to Honor National Homeless and Hungry Awareness Week
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 16:11
The Student Social Work Organization will hold various events to raise awareness of homelessness around the Fargo-Moorhead community from Nov. 13 to 16.
SSWO was started in the spring of 2012, and is open to any students that are interested in volunteering. This year’s homeless and hungry event will be their first time hosting it; however, the group is looking to make it an annual event. This year’s awareness week was organized by chairs Megan Evjen and Cady Nielsen, as well as all of the other members.
“The entire SSWO as a whole made this week possible,” Evjen said.
The awareness week will have three major events. Tuesday will be the “Miss-a-Meal” event held at the University Lutheran Center from 5 to 8 p.m. Students and members of the community are invited to miss a meal and attend the event for recreational activities.
Missing a meal will represent the high numbers of homeless people having to go hungry. The event will also feature speakers Laurie Baker, the Fargo-Moorhead director of the Coalition for Homeless People in ND, and Raven Darkcloud, who will share his personal story of being homeless. The presentation will conclude with bingo and prizes.
On Wednesday, the color day, students are encouraged to wear orange to represent hunger, or purple representing homelessness, in order to raise awareness for those issues around campus and in the community.
On Thursday, SSWO members will participate in the “A Day Without a Home” event, standing on the corner of 12th Avenue all day to spread awareness about homelessness and to collect donations. All funds raised during the week will be donated to the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People.
Students wishing to participate in the event or looking for more information are encouraged to like the “National Homeless and Hungry Awareness Week” page on Facebook, as well as invite their friends to like it to spread awareness.
To raise awareness, NDSU students also participated in the Homeless and Hungry 30 hour fasting period, where they slept outside in cardboard boxes. This is an annual fundraiser that took place in October.
According to the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People, homelessness affects about 400 people each night in the Fargo-Moorhead community.
Some of those individuals are transitioning into a new living situation; however, about 30 percent can be considered as “long-term homeless.” Fargo is home to about 60 percent of homeless people from around the F-M area.
The majority of people affected by homelessness have a mental disorder, are affected by medical issues, or have a substance abuse problem. Many of them escaped abuse, and about 20 percent are children under the age of 18.
The North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People is aimed at providing shelter for those in need, funding and services to end homelessness in North Dakota. The organization collects and shares data on homelessness, provides shelter to homeless people, spreads awareness of the issue, and connects homeless people to resources they need depending on their specific situation. The organization has also been actively involved in the Homeless and Hungry Awareness Week for a number of years.