Wacoans fight against hunger, homelessness

Homeless Info GraphicBy Rebecca Fiedler
Staff Writer

As part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, today the McLennan County Hunger Coalition and the Heart of Texas Homeless Coalition are asking people to donate to an all-day food drive that will take place at multiple locations, such as H-E-B, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations.

The food will go to local food pantries.

Also, as part of the weeklong event, the organization Kids Against Hunger, along with the Rev. Tim Jarrell of Austin Avenue United Methodist Church, will invite volunteers to package meals for those in need between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at Austin Avenue United Methodist Church.

Volunteers can sign up for a shift to package food by searching “Kids Against Hunger” at www.signupgenius.com.

“Basically what these volunteers will do is pack these food packets up and seal them,” said Kenneth Moerbe, co-chairman of the local National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week planning committee. “Rev. Jarrell’s goal is 30,000 packets.”

The coalitions are attempting this week to make Wacoans and Baylor students more aware of the issues of homelessness and hunger.

A press release from the coalitions states that during the course of a year 1,000 Waco Independent School District students are homeless, and 25 percent of children in Texas experience food insecurity.

The coalitions work to encourage people to increase access to food for senior citizens by asking the Waco community to send letters to national, state and local leaders.

Monday, they asked Wacoans to gather together at local businesses and institutions, including places like Common Grounds and the World Cup Café, to write these letters.

There was a Baylor class presentation at a town hall meeting at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

Dr. Andrew Hogue, director of the Civic Education and Community Service Program of the political science department, and students from his African American Politics Class shared some of the information gathered in their study of food deserts in the South Waco area.

Thursday the coalitions provided a free showing of film “A Place at the Table” on campus at the Bennett Auditorium.

“We’ve had different programs each day and we’ve had really pretty good participation, I think,” Moerbe said.

He said this year’s Awareness Week events have been the most successful in Waco he’s seen.

He said if people attend the week’s activities, they gain an awareness of the issues discussed and be willing to take action against them in the future.