Hunger and homelessness week allows for donations

The Food and Agricultural Organization defines chronic hunger as undernourishment caused by not ingesting enough energy to a lead a normal, active life. 

In Sonoma County, 70,000 people are hungry every month with 11,300 of them being children. In addition, 3,295 people currently experience homelessness in Sonoma County according to Sonoma County Homelessness Advocates. 

These jarring facts are the reason that JUMP is providing Sonoma State with the educational opportunity this week from Nov. 16 through Nov. 19 to help students learn, serve and spread awareness of hunger and homelessness.

Fifth year student Summer Yeramian, the director of human services with JUMP, along with the help of four coordinators, have worked together to provide an engaging and eventful week to give students the opportunity to learn about the effects of hunger and homelessness on a national, global and local scale.

“There will be something happening everyday throughout the week including hands-on service projects, speakers, a hunger banquet and a concert in the ballroom Thursday night where students can enjoy the musical stylings of an up and coming band, Fever Charm,” said Yeramian.

In efforts of providing a more interactive experience than prior years, JUMP has reached out to the community through numerous classrooms, clubs and other organizations to help spread the word. 

“JUMP has partnered with ASP for the concert portion of the week in an effort to highlight the socially informative and prevalent issues of hunger and homelessness, while also connecting students through music,” said Yeramian.

Part of the program offers days of service on either Wednesday or Friday as an opportunity to provide assistance to the partnering organizations in the prevalent area. 

This marks the first year that JUMP will partner with NOAHS food pantry in which students will have the chance to connect with the local community on issues of hunger.

“I am excited to see Sonoma State put on programs such as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week that allows us to be educated on these issues and how we can get involved to help those in need,” said junior Ashleen Rai.

On Tuesday, there will be a speaker titled “In Someone Else’s Shoes,” at 7 p.m. in the Erin Risher Room of the Student Center in which students will have the opportunity to listen to stories from speakers working at local non-profit organizations, Catholic Charities and Committee of the Shelterless. 

They will discuss personal experiences with homelessness as well as preventative actions and community resources.

“JUMP is constantly working to bring awareness to this campus regarding pertinent social justice issues. It is a community full of students who truly care about the condition of Sonoma County and are working diligently to improve the state of life for the people who inhabit it and the environment we all surround ourselves with,” said Yeramian. “There is nothing more inspiring to me than collaborating with the incredible team of people in the JUMP office.”

JUMP will be collecting donations on the first floor of the Student Center all week. The donations can include anything from canned food to bathroom essentials to new socks and underwear. 

The proceeds are then returned to the four programs under the Human Services coalition: The Living Room, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Vintage Brush Creek and The Family Support Center.

For all information regarding to the events of JUMP’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, JUMP can be found on Facebook and Instagram at Join Us Making Progress and SSUJUMP. 

Students interested in the service opportunities on Wednesday and Friday are encouraged to e-mail ssu.human1@gmail.com to reserve a spot.