By Joy Moton | Staff Writer
Baylor’s Texas Hunger Initiative will co-host a campuswide food drive and hunger awareness forum with Baylor Campus Kitchen and No Kid Hungry from 6 to 8 p.m. today in the Baines Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.
Omaha, Neb., senior Megan Rollag, a youth ambassador for No Kid Hungry who organized the event, said the event is designed to bring the issue of child hunger in America to light on Baylor’s campus. Students will have the opportunity to learn about this issue and how they can play a part in reducing hunger locally.
“I’m hoping that Baylor students will come out inspired to get involved in Waco or their own community and that they are aware of the reality of hunger and what it looks like to be in impoverished,” Rollag said.
The forum will feature Craig Nash, a child hunger outreach specialist for Baylor’s Texas Hunger Initiative. He will give an overview of child hunger in McLennan County. More than 48,000 individuals are food insecure, which puts nearly 17,000 children without food, according to a Texas Hunger Initiative press release.
“People often have the idea that we aren’t as poor as a different country, therefore we don’t have those problems here,” Rollag said. “The belief that these issues don’t exist leads to the idea that we don’t need social programs. We need to raise more awareness and get rid of the notion that hunger doesn’t exist in America.”
Since college campuses are notorious for promoting community service and civic engagement, College Station sophomore Rebecca Peirce, a Baylor Campus Kitchens representative, will speak at the forum about using volunteer work on campus and in the community to better the conditions of hunger in Waco.
Rollag will conclude the forum by discussing the importance of students using their voices and resources to advocate against child hunger.
“As students, it’s important to know what kind of initiatives are being put forth so we can talk to our legislators and advocate,” Rollag said.
After the hunger awareness forum, there will be a letter writing station for students to write to their legislators and a photo booth where they can take photos to demonstrate their support against child hunger.
Students who attend the event are encouraged to bring a can of food and will have the chance to win door prizes from local vendors. All the food that is collected will be donated to Caritas of Waco.
“It’s not acceptable that we live in a nation like we do and still face this issue. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to issues that don’t affect people directly,” said Grace Norman, No Kid Hungry Campaign Manager for Baylor. “At the same time, we live in a community where people have a giving spirit, and we’re very fortunate to have that at Baylor.”