EWU hosts Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week


Courtesy of EWU

Schedule of events for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

By Shandra Haggerty, Reporter

EWU’s Office of Community Engagement is hosting a week of events for students and staff to learn about the vast homeless population in Spokane, a group that totaled 1,090 persons in a 2017 count according to the City of Spokane’s website. 

Outside of Tawanka on Nov. 13, EWU’s Office of Community Engagement handed out bread and produce to students and faculty as part of its pop-up pantry. 

There are several opportunities in the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week for students to get involved and engage with their community. 

On Nov. 14, the Office of Community Engagement will be in Tawanka teaching students and staff about hunger, homelessness and what they can do to get more involved. They will then host a hygiene drive at Yoke’s Fresh Market in Cheney to collect donations of sanitary and bath supplies. 

Nov. 16, the last day of Hunger and     Homelessness Awareness Week, there will be a showing of the KSPS documentary,  “Hidden in Plain Sight: Fighting Homelessness in Spokane” in Hargreaves 117. The film focuses on the city’s goal to end homelessness by the year 2020. After the film, students will make care packages for the Crosswalk Youth Shelter with the hygiene products they collected.

“Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is a national event that is designed to educate the public, draw attention to the problem of poverty, and build up the base of volunteers and supporters for local anti-poverty agencies,” Arick Erechar, the Office of Community Engagement Community outreach coordinator said. 

This year’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week has over 700 groups participating. 

“Groups spend this week generating publicity about hunger and homelessness and holding a series of events to engage their communities,” Erechar said.

EWU freshman Lauren Hernandez is volunteering in the awareness week because of her passion for giving back.

“I can’t give them a home but I can help in any way possible,” Hernandez said.  “I think giving back in even a small way is better than nothing.”

Hernandez volunteered at a homeless shelter in middle school and has since been looking for ways to get involved again. 

“I know it’s hard for some people,” Hernandez said. “I’d like to help people who don’t have support or someone who cares.” 

Donation areas will be set up in each dorm from Nov. 13 to Nov. 30 for a winter clothing drive. All warm clothing collected will go to Crosswalk Youth Shelter, a service center for homeless and runaway youth in downtown Spokane. 

 Another community service event that the Office of Community Engagement encourages students to participate in is Tom’s Turkey Drive. The turkey drive will host its 19th annual event on Nov. 16 and 17th. The meals will be distributed by Second Harvest to 11,000 families throughout the Inland Northwest.•