By Gustavo Castillo, Nov. 23, 2021

A weeklong event was held for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness with workshops from Nov. 13-21, designed to educate the public on struggles students are facing and how to help.

In a Basic Needs Initiative 2018 Report, 41.6% of students reported food insecurity and 10.9% reported homelessness in comparison to CPP’s 35.9% food insecurity population as well as its 14.9% homelessness data according to Crutchfield & Maguire.

“The goal is to use the skills and information you learned to better serve students struggling,” stated Cheryl Love, career counselor in charge of the Clothes Closet Stipend Program.

According to the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, the reported food insecurity for young adult students is alarmingly higher than national reported data for U.S. households.

Judy Crawford, basic needs chair coordinator and care services coordinator, added, “It’s a real issue that people don’t pay attention to because it isn’t directly affecting them. It’s a responsibility that should be spread across campus so that faculty and staff know where resources are for students in need.”

With 49 participants at the Basic Needs Ally Training Zoom session, students and staff were introduced to ways in which individuals can help themselves or others to achieve Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:  self-actualization, esteem, love and belonging, safety needs and physiological needs, in order to succeed in school.

Students fill Bronco Home kits with home goods and personal essentials. (Photo Courtesy of Gustavo Castillo)

Students and staff were given tips on empathy, reflective listening and attending behavior as well as being aware that cultural sensitivity, relativism and humility all play a part in understanding each unique individual student’s needs. The workshops also focused on being sensitive due to personal identities that may be considered  privileged. For example, being aware of a straight cis-gendered man’s advantages relative to a non-binary person of color.

On Nov. 16, ASI hosted a Basic Needs Resource Fair that was hosted by all campus resources such as the Poly Pantry, CalFresh Outreach Program, Broncos Care Basic Needs Program and many more.  Broncos were able to write letters to government leaders in support of advocacy efforts for students facing basic needs insecurity. Attendees could also be involved in a volunteer service project which allowed students to create a Bronco Welcome Home Kit.  Each Bronco Home kit was custom made alongside an envelope inside with words of encouragement provided by fellow students. Each kit included living essentials such as home goods, clothing and menstrual products.

Paige Jodoin, mechanical engineering student, was one of the volunteers who assembled two Bronco Home kits.

“I have a part time job where I help people with affordable housing,” said Jodoin. “I wanted to volunteer at this event because I enjoy helping out the Bronco Community.”

Both students and staff were found intertwining in the front of the BSC gathering information and receiving raffle prizes.

Kenya Rampersant, senior coordinator for Health Promotion and Wellness Services, expressed a similar ideology. “This is one of the things I love to do. It’s for students that need any type of help, whether that be education in nutrition or rapid housing,” she said.

On Wednesday, the program encouraged students to watch Netflix’s limited series “Maid,” and have an open discussion with the Counseling and Psychological Services, or CAPS, Survivor Advocacy Services and the Parenting Student Support Services.

“Maid” follows a young woman and daughter desperately in need of housing while leaving an abusive household with unsupportive parents; it stars Margaret Qualley, Andie MacDowell and Nick Robinson. This series brings realism in the form of entertainment with a story students can relate to.

During the week, a panel of CPP students and staff shared personal stories on how they navigated through student hunger and homelessness.

Lastly on Nov. 19, the Multipurpose room hosted an event that strengthened students’ knowledge by providing tips on how to create a healthy family meal while engaging in conversation and creating a healthy budget-friendly snack together.

For students interested in helping fellow Broncos in need, they can visit the Basic Needs 2021 Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week page where individuals can donate items to the Poly Pantry, or to Feed A Bronco by donating unused swipes or participate in a Basic Needs Survey.

Visit Basic Needs for all other services or follow Basic Needs on Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of Gustavo Castillo. 

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