Friday, October 26, 2007

UNM Hunger Awareness Event a Success!

(originally published in Bread blog, October 25, 2007)

By Kitty Hurst

University of New Mexico student

Hunger4 After months of research, planning, and organizing, my Research Service Learning class Communication for Peace finally received its reward. Our hunger awareness event at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque was a success, with 200 surveys collected and twice as many people stopping by to pick up information, share ideas, and grab a snack.

Our project was a joint effort with the Popular Culture, Media, and Community Action class, which is one of the courses offered this semester by the American Studies Department.

Most of our class was surprised at how many people came by the tables, but I wasn’t. I knew how hard we worked to make the day a success. I knew I wasn’t the only one who spent long hours doing research, making posters and baking goodies. We had a whole team of committed people who contributed to the success of the event. It always amazes me to see what ordinary people can achieve when they work together. See the Website we created for the class.

Hunger1_2 It was remarkable to see common myths about hunger unfold at our event. I heard many times that we shouldn’t be feeding the campus community, that students are a privileged class and don’t go hungry. People said we should go to the ghettos to find hunger and poverty.

I was happy to tell these disbelievers that hunger is pervasive in New Mexico, and that, contrary to popular opinion, there aren’t just pockets of poverty. People from all parts of town are hungry, not just those in poor neighborhoods. With the data from our surveys, we will soon have the numbers to map out hunger on campus.

One young woman told me the story of her problems with the Food Stamp Program. She is a working mother whose husband is a student at UNM. She explained how frustrating it was to stand in line six hours, waiting to turn in her food stamp application. Without any of her paperwork being filed, she was told there were too many other people in need, and that she should come back in two months. She still hasn’t received any aid.

Hers was a story I heard repeated again and again. It’s obvious there is a hunger issue in this city if so many people are willing to wait so long to apply for food stamps.

Hunger3_2 Instead of stories of frustration, others pressed us with tough questions, mostly about the gaps in hunger relief programs and our plans for a UNM community garden.

The community garden created a lot of excitement. I heard all sorts of ideas from installing compost centers on campus, to building greenhouses, to using the food grown on campus to make the Student Union Building more sustainable. Now we know the support and ideas are available to make this ambition a reality.

Networking with people from other campus and community organizations was a bonus I didn’t expect. Other activists were drawn to the event, talking eagerly of how we can work together to achieve amazing things. It was exciting to see so many people passionate about hunger issues. Many people signed our list serve, and the class is looking forward to collaborating with other groups on future projects. Students were especially enthusiastic when they heard that so many Service Learning Classes about hunger are being offered next semester.

Now when people say no one is hungry on campus, or that hunger isn’t an issue at UNM, I can reply with stories I heard first hand about six-hour food stamp lines, community members who can’t afford healthy meals, and impassioned students coming together to fight hunger.

(The author is also a staff writer for the campus newspaper The Daily Lobo)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Upcoming Events (Please Join Us)

Tuesday, October 16
World Food Day at UNM

Climate: Changes, Challenges and Consequences

Student Union Building
Lobo Rooms A & B (upper floor)

8:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Join other anti-hunger advocates, environmentalists, social workers, farmers, nutritionists, economists, church leaders and students from many disciplines. -View a live video teleconference with three international leaders
-Hear about the links between climate change, hunger and poverty
-Meet others who care about hunger and climate issues
-Learn about strategies to end world hunger
-Share your thoughts about how we can help

-Contribute to Roadrunner Food Bank

-Learn about the Millennium Development Goals

Video Teleconference Participants:

RAY SUAREZ (host) senior correspondent PBS Jim Lehrer Newshour

SUZANNE HUNT-coordinated the landmark study Biofuels for Transportation: Global Potential and Implications for Sustainable Agriculture and Energy in the 21st Century" for WorldWatch

Dr. CYNTHIA ROSENZWEIG: Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University, where she is a leader of the Climate Impacts Group

Dr. ROBERT T. WATSON: Chief Scientist and Director of Environmentallly and Socially Sustainable Development at the World Bank

Sponsored by: Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, Bread for the World, Bread for the World-New Mexico (& The ONE Campaign-Albuquerque), City of Albuquerque-Environmental Health Department, New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, New Mexico Human Services Department, New Mexico Task Force to End Hunger, UNM Future Social Entrepreneurs, UNM Public Interest Research Group, UNM SUSTAIN

Wednesday, October 17
Fair Trade Celebration
Live music and free food
Student Union Building Atrium
10:00am - 3:00pm

The UNM Fair Trade Initiative is hosting a Fair Trade Celebration for Fair trade month. We are having live music, free food prizes and presentations. Please come and learn about Fair Trade and how you can make a difference. Mayor Martin Chavez will be attending this event and he will discuss his role in the Fair Trade movement.

Saturday, October 20
Personal Stories of a Genocide
UNM Anthropology Lecture Hall 163
2:30pm - 4:30pm
A National Speaking Tour featuring Darfuri refugees, organized by the Save Darfur Coalition in Washington, DC. Guest speaker is Daoud Hari, who fled his village in the Darfur region of western Sudan after months of bombings by his own government. He is one of 2.5 million people who have been forced from their homes by the genocide in Darfur.

Sponsored by UNM Law School and UNM Peace Studies
Co-sponsors: Student Bar Association, Black Law Students Association, International Law Students Association, Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity, Student Special Events, the Departments of History, Linguistics, Political Science, Public Health and Sociology, Religious Studies, Women's Studies, Feminist Research Institute, International Studies Institute

NOTE: This event will be repeated that evening at First Unitarian Church, 3701 Carlisle NE 7:00-9:00pm

Sunday, October 21
Begins and ends at
First Congregational Church

2801 Lomas Blvd Ne
1:00 p.m.

CROP Hunger Walks help children and families worldwide -- and right here in the U.S. -- to have food for today, while building for a better tomorrow. Each year more than 2.5 million CROP Walkers, volunteers, and sponsors put their hearts and soles in motion, raising over $16 million per year to help stop hunger around the world -- and in their own communities. And you are part of it!
For more information, contact
John & Violet Foley

Wednesday, October 24

In front of Popejoy Hall on UNM campus
Noon to 2pm
an event planned by a Service Learning Communications class at UNM

Skip breakfast that day and see what it’s like to be hungry for a few hours. The students hope the growling in your stomachs will wake up your hearts and heads.

The students will present their research about hunger in New Mexico supply information and applications for relief organizations (food banks, food stamps etc), hand out cheap and easy recipes, and of course, lunch is provided !

Read blog post about this event.

Thursday, November 1

Education for All

Mary Njoroge: The Right to Free Primary Education
University of New Mexico
Student Union Building
Fiesta Rooms A & B
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Mary Njoroge of Kenya will speak about the Education for All campaign, which would help fund the transition to free primary education in developing countries. She oversaw the vast expansion of Kenyan primary-school enrollment that occurred when school fees were eliminated in Kenya—one million new students virtually overnight! This kind of expansion will have to be replicated in many other countries in order to fulfill Millennium Development Goal Number 2, universal primary education. Education is vital to poverty elimination, economic development, public health, women's equality, child survival, HIV/AIDS prevention, and more. After you hear what she's accomplished you can find out how you can help make this happen in other countries!

Sponsored by RESULTS-Albuquerque

Sunday, November 4

The Asphalt Gospel
a documentary about CrossWalk America
Church of the Good Shepherd
(United Church of Christ)
7834 Tennyson NE
5:00 p.m.

The 2007 goals of CrossWalk America include outreach and education focused on progressive themes for long-term systemic change in the Christian faith itself. The film describes the 2500-mile pilgrimage from Phoenix to Washington DC to raise awareness and build a grassroots network.
Admission is a tax-deductible donation on a sliding scale of $10 to $50
For ticket information contact
Rev. Daniel Erdman

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Unlimited Power of God Behind Us

We didn't have an actual count. But we noticed that there were people in every row, although there were some scattered empty seats. Not that we should measure the success of a U2 Agape Service by the number of people we had or the amount of money we collected (I can't tell you how much. All I can say is that it appeared that people gave generously).

The most wonderful thing about our U2 Agape Service is that so many people from different faith traditions and from different generations came together on this Saturday evening (September 22) in the spirit of the Irish rock band U2 to declare our commitment to the effort to end global poverty, hunger and disease via the Millennium Development Goals.

There were Episcopalians and Roman Catholics and Lutherans and many people who are spiritual but not necessarily affiliated with any organized religious group. And there were children, youth, college students and people in their 40s and 50s and residents of Albuquerque and Santa Fe and Algodones...For an evening, we cast aside our affiliations and became one. As Father Tom Jackson, pastor at Aquinas Newman Center, said in his final blessing (and I paraphrase), " even though we are not the same, we are still one.

The lyrics of the U2 song One say it well. One blood...One life...You got to do what you should...One life...With each other...Sisters... Brothers...One life...But we're not the same...We get to...Carry each other...Carry each other...

Other U2 songs fit like a glove with the images of the
powerpoint that Christina Vehar, a member of Luther House, had so skillfully put together: Crumbs from Your Table; I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For; Pride; 40; Sunday Bloody Sunday, Yahweh...
(In the above picture, Father Tom Jackson shares bread with local ONE volunteer Laura Casselman) Click here for pictures from the U2 Agape Service
The sermon was delivered by Jude Fournier, director of religious education at Newman Center, who spoke about his experiences working with victims of Hurricane Mitch in Central America, and also with villagers in Malawi for the past two summers. Jude related a touching story of his encounter of young refugee mother along the Nicaragua-Honduras border who had just lost her child. In the village of Chibanzi, Malawi, Jude had the opportunity to work alongside remarkable people who minister to people suffering with AIDS and their families. One Presbyterian minister shared him that on average he presides over ten funerals per day. Jude was touched by the words above the minister's Prayer House.
"First, dear child you must die to yourself and then you shall know the unimaginable joy of walking out of the tomb."
Perhaps some members of the congregation present at the service that night have had similar experiences as Jude or will soon find themselves with such opportunities. Regardless of our path in life, there is one saying at the entrance of another Prayer House in Chibanzi that applies to our work.
"The unfinished task before us is no greater than the unlimited power of God behind us."