Student organization focuses on homelessness and hunger

Shannon Kennedy, [email protected], is a senior mass media major.

For many, having the newest electronic device or gaming console is a need, not a want. Or not getting their daily $5 latte or cappuccino is grounds for having a bad day. But for over 2,000 people in Topeka, having a place to call home or finding their next meal is a need.

Nationally, hunger and homelessness is spotlighted Nov. 16 – 24 by the National Coalition for the Homeless. Closer to home, the local Washburn chapter of Oxfam is hosting a week-long awareness campaign. Oxfam is an international organization that rallies around poverty, homelessness and injustice.

This week-long awareness campaign will run from Nov. 18 to Nov. 22 and will range from trainings on how to talk to local senators and representatives, panel discussions with the local Rescue Mission and some of their current and past resident film screenings, a hunger banquet and ending with cooking and serving a meal for victims of homelessness.

The Oxfam chapter at Washburn has also partnered with the Mulvane Art Museum and Kansas Association of Community Action Programs to host an art exhibit called Poverty A:Z during the campaign. It will highlight the art within the community and be geared towards homelessness. This multi-media exhibit will be in the Andrew J. and Georgia Neese Gray Theatre Theater from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day of this week and incorporated photography, music and the spoken word. More information can be found at www.kacap.org/Resources/PovertyAZ/.

Angelique Flinn, president, who started the Washburn chapter two years ago, runs the Oxfam chapter.

Flinn has been involved in Oxfam for a while and was a change leader two years ago and that taught her how to run an organization and help enrich her leadership abilities.

“This is an opportunity to show Washburn students how the hungry and homeless really live and how they survive,” said Flinn. “I urge them to attend some of these functions and really learn how they can give back to the people in their community. This is a just one week in the year where we try to bring awareness to the forefront, but many of these people are living this reality 52 weeks of the year.”

Some key points of the week are as follows:

Nov. 18 – Let Your Voice Be Heard Partnering with RESULTS, (a non-profit geared towards ending hunger) who will have one of their staff present to do advocacy training to help people learn how to talk to their Senators and Representatives.

Nov. 19 – Faces of the Homelessness Panel Partnering with the Topeka Rescue Mission to host a panel of current and past homeless who will be telling their stories.

Nov. 20 – Inequality for All film screening Partnering with the Topeka Center for Peace and Justice, will be viewing the “Inequality for All” film in Henderson room 100, a documentary by Robert Reich.

Nov. 21 – Oxfam America Hunger Banquet This unique experience allows you to attend a grand banquet and be assigned a random ticket. This ticket dictates where you sit and how much food you will actually be given. Just like in life, we do not get to choose whether we are born into prosperity or born into poverty. Kansas Oxfam America’s chapter will be organizing this event. This event will require some donations from faculty, staff and students in order to provide all these events to Washburn students and the homeless in Topeka.

Nov. 22 – No More Victims, Hope for the Homeless Meal Prep: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Asubry Mt. Olive United Methodist.

Food will be cooked at this location and volunteers are needed to make sure all meals are prepared. Serving Food: 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. at 620 SE Madison in the Holliday Room on Level 1.

There is still a need for volunteers for Friday’s event. If anyone is interested in volunteering or wanting more information on the Oxfam chapter at Washburn, please contact Angelique Flinn at: [email protected]