Hunger Awareness Coming to Youngstown State

By Danielle Garner

The Honors College students at Youngstown State University are hosting their own 30 Hour Famine from Nov. 18 to Nov. 19.

Amy Cossentino, the YSU Honors College director, said the hunger-strike will raise awareness for homelessness and hunger in the area.

“This activity is part of a broader educational [and] experiential effort,” Cossentino said.

The event will be coordinated by Megan Evans, an honors student and cofounder of the Poverty Awareness of Youngstown Organization. Cossentino said this project is right up Evan’s alley.

“Megan, as a student, has been working with this cause since she was a first-year student,” Cossentino said.

YSU honors students have been seeking sponsorship donations from community businesses and the Student Government Association for the event. Evans said these donations will benefit homeless and impoverished people in the area.

“We are going to donate to local Youngstown charities, so, for example, the Rescue Mission, Salvation Army and the Second Harvest Food Bank,” Evans said.

A portion of canned goods donated will also go toward the student food pantry located on campus.

Jodi Zell, an honors student, assisted Evans in organizing the event and plans on participating. When she learned that two out of three children in Youngstown are living beneath the poverty line, Zell said she was heartbroken.

“In one of the Youngstown City Schools that I tutor at, students were given plastic bags with food items to take home on Friday afternoon,” Zell said. “Afterward, when I asked the teacher about it, she said that for many of the students that is the only meal they will have over the weekend.”

Service activities will be held during the event at Fok Hall, such as making scarves and cards. A documentary on homelessness will be played for participants in Cafaro House.

There will also be events calling students to become active in the Youngstown community, Evans said.

“Saturday morning, we have organized volunteering throughout the Youngstown community, so there will be volunteering at the Youngstown Inner City Garden and at the YNDC,” Evans said.

Participants in the 30 Hour Famine will be given a spaghetti dinner at the Rescue Mission alongside the 130 to 150 Youngstown residents that regularly use the service. Evans said it is important for everyone to understand what homeless people go through.

Zell said this will be an effective way to bring that understanding to YSU students.

“It is my hope that through the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and the famine, our efforts to raise awareness will last for more than a week and be a good reminder to the YSU community that we all should be doing our part to reach out to our fellow humans,” Zell said.