Yesterday, Towson kicked off the National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week (NHHAW) with a setup in Freedom Square to explain what this week is all about. No, this week is not about the theme of the Hunger Games books and movies. Speaking of which, isn’t it weird that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 comes out this Friday during NHHAW? That happened last year too! Was this always planned by the studio?

Anyway, I digress. NHHAW is always the week before Thanksgiving. During this time, we should reflect on the things we are thankful for and also provide service for those who are experiencing homelessness and/or hunger. Not everyone in this country has the same experiences and privileges as everyone else. It is time to recognize that and strive to end hunger and homelessness.

I understand that as college students, there are multiple commitments and concerns to our lives that make it difficult for us to stop and think about what we are thankful for, and what others don’t have. Take the time RIGHT NOW as you read this post. Here’s a few:

Be thankful you can go to college

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in college, how many colleges you’ve gone to, which college you go to, or if you transferred. Getting any type of post-secondary education is something to be grateful about. Some people cannot afford do this or do not have the opportunities to do so.

Fact: In 2011, the official poverty rate was 15.0%. There were 46.2 million people in poverty.

Be thankful for your housing

This goes especially for people living on-campus. While we sometimes complain about our campus homes (or the fact that some of us can’t live in West Village or Newell), families are living without roofs over their heads. For those living off-campus or at home, yes, paying rent is stressful, but you can pay it. If you never seen an eviction notice on your door, you’re making it.

Fact: On a single night in January 2013, there were 610,042 people experiencing homelessness in the United States, including 394,698 people who were homeless in sheltered locations and 215,344 people who were living in unsheltered locations.

Be thankful for the meal plan

I’m guilty of this. I easily get tired of eating on-campus at the various locations that I’m used to. Therefore, I easily forget how grateful it is to have PTUX, Susq, and buffet-style places like West Village Commons. Let’s be real: some of us don’t even finish the food we eat there. Imagine how many people we could feed with the food we don’t finish.

Fact: In 2010, 14.5% (17.2 million) of households in the United States experienced food insecurity at one time.


These are only three things that all of us students at Towson should be aware of this week. If you want to get involved with National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week at Towson, here’s the entire schedule.


All facts were retrieved from:

2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress

National Coalition for the Homelessness

-Jared M. Swain