Awareness Week Focuses on Food Insecurity
By Dawn Medley
One in 10 people in the community surrounding Mary Baldwin College don’t know where their next meal is coming from, according to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Shocked by the number of local people struggling to find food and shelter, the Mary Baldwin community once again plans to get involved during national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 15–20. Sponsored by the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, this year’s theme, Food Insecurity, was inspired by alarming statistics about the number of hungry people in the area.
“Food insecurity is caused not just by lack of food, but also lack of basic cooking know-how, access to fresh food, and more,” explained Robyn Stegman ’09, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer and staff member at the Spencer Center who is coordinating this year’s events. “Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week will focus on the many causes, factors, and solutions that factor into food insecurity.”
The observance will kick off with an intriguing and entertaining discussion by Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap and Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas. “Winne challenges the reader to go beyond the popular rhetoric of ‘eat local’ and instead become part of a larger movement to reclaim food sovereignty,” according to a release from his publisher, Beacon Press. In lieu of the college’s traditional Hunger Banquet, the schedule features a talk between members of the food service team and students about the importance of nutrition.
A look at other activities planned for the week:
- November 15: Mark Winne, author of Closing the Food Gap and the just-published Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas, will lead a discussion about how the local food movement can help close the gap between those who have an abundance of food and those struggling to put meals on the table. 7 p.m., Hunt Gallery.
- November 16: A showing of the 2009 film The Soloist will be followed by a discussion about the complicated issue of homelessness in our community and the role of individual intervention. 8 p.m., Spencer Center.
- November 17: The weekly Community Service Speaker Series will feature presenters from Peace Corps and AmeriCorps who will talk about the ways these two programs tackle poverty in America and abroad. 12 p.m., Miller Chapel.
- November 17: Representatives of MBC’s food service team will give a interactive seminar on the dual issues of hunger and obesity. Their demonstration will show students that food insecurity is not just a lack of food, but also the lack of the nutritious food needed to live an active and healthy lifestyle. 6 p.m., Hunt Dining Hall.
- November 18: Film clips and a discussion about poverty in Uganda and how micro financing and creative businesses, such as Bead for Life, can help people and communities fight hunger. Bead for Life products will be available for purchase.
- November 19: MBC will celebrate its first Day of Service with the Scoop-it-Forward Campaign. MBC Students, faculty, and staff who volunteer for at least one hour that day will receive a free scoop of ice cream, donated by Martin’s grocery store in Staunton — a great opportunity to close Hunger and Homelessness Week by serving the community.