So you probably saw the facts up around campus the week before Thanksgiving on multi-colored flyers declaring, “Approximately 1.6 million New Yorkers rely on Emergency Food Programs monthly” or “There are more than 3 Million (16.7 percent) people in poverty in NYS; this is 1 of every 6 New Yorkers; this represents 1 in 4 children.”

A command in bold followed, “Do something about it ? Join the Action Against Hunger Fast, Sunday, Nov. 18 ? Monday, Nov 19, Contact CSN at x58732.”

Perhaps, after reading these facts, your train of thought ran along these lines. “Fasting? Hmm, that seems kind of pointless. The hungry aren’t being fed just because I don’t eat for 24 hours. Now a food drive or volunteering at a soup kitchen would actually accomplish something. I need to eat!”

I know how the logic goes. This is what I initially thought last year as CLC prepared to fast in solidarity and lined up people to cook a celebratory house Thanksgiving feast to be eaten exactly one day from the Action Against Hunger Fast’s start.

Action in solidarity builds community, albeit in this case a hungry one bonding through a common interest in eating. And as people discuss what it’s like to be hungry, issues of awareness are raised.

Talk turned to various personal experiences volunteering in soup kitchens, the different circumstances in which people fast and what I’ve decided to talk about in this article ? the actual significance of fasting.

Fasting as part of an event, like the Action Against Hunger Fast sponsored by the Community Learning Center and the Community Service Network, brings you into solidarity with hungry people who have little or no food to eat on a regular basis ? not just for one day, like Fast participants.

The Action Against Hunger Fast was part of the Hunger Action Network of New York State’s annual push to have individuals and groups across NYS conduct an event that increases awareness about the plight of millions of hungry people during a time when most are pondering their Thanksgiving dinners.

Twenty students armed with a NYS hunger fact sheet picked up in CLC and wearing star stickers to provoke supremely inquisitive questions like, “Um, why are you wearing star stickers?” They fasted and spread awareness by answering questions with an explanation of the Fast and a relevant NYS hunger facts.

Info on a variety of volunteer opportunities in Rochester related to alleviating hunger was also provided, and participant’s names were sent to be included in the HANNYS figures on how many people took action statewide this year. HANNYS will use this info to further educate citizens and our political representatives on the vital importance of fighting hunger. This year, as the flyer facts indicate, the focus is on supporting Emergency Feeding Programs.

Simply stated, if groups and individuals know more about an issue, people are more likely to get involved in directly fighting hunger.

Spending an afternoon helping sort food in a warehouse at Foodlink just might have more meaning, when you remember how you actually did fantasize about Danforth’s abundant buffets before you joined your friends to reflect and break fast 24 hours later.

So next year, why not think twice when you see the hunger facts go up and take action against hunger yourself before feasting plentifully at Thanksgiving? Or get involved now!

Stillwagon is a Take Five Scholar and can be reached at sstillwagon@campustimes.org.



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