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Hub for Spiritual Life Recognizes Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week 2023

Students sorting donated food

From November 13 through November 16, 2023, the Community Engagement and Service (CES) branch of the University’s Hub for Spiritual Life will host numerous on- and off-campus activities to mark Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, an annual event sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. 

Initially observed in 1975 at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week was established to educate the public, draw attention to the problem of poverty, and build up the base of volunteers and supporters for anti-poverty agencies. “The issues of food and housing insecurity are complex. That’s why we don’t yet have solutions to these community challenges,” says Christin Shatzer Román (’03), director of community engagement and service at the Hub for Spiritual Life. “Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week provides a way for every member of the Pepperdine community to deepen their understanding of these issue areas, hear directly from experts on these topics, and explore what each individual can do to contribute something to the cause.” 

The entire Pepperdine community is encouraged to participate in the following Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week 2023 events:

Information Tabling
Monday, November 13; Tuesday, November 14; Thursday, March 16 | 11 AM to 2 PM | Upper Mullin Town Square
Wednesday, November 15 | 11 AM to 1:30 PM | Caruso School of Law
Throughout the week, members of CES, the Student Care Team, the Food Recovery Network, CalFresh, Manna Conejo, and Nourish Club will provide information and assemble hygiene kits for our unhoused neighbors. There will be prize giveaways, surveys, informational posters, and opportunities to sign ups for the week’s events.

Hosted Trivia 
Monday, November 13 | 6:30 to 8:30 PM | Seaver Cafeteria
Answer trivia questions to expand your knowledge about the issues of hunger and homelessness. Prizes, such as CES merchandise, will be awarded.

Meal Preparation and Distribution
Tuesday, November 14 | 8 to 11:30 AM | Off Campus
Join CES and Malibu C.A.R.T. (Community Assistance and Resource Team), a local nonprofit organization, in preparing and distributing a meal to homeless residents of Malibu. Contact ryan.locascio@pepperdine.edu to participate.

Food Bag Assembly 
Tuesday, November 14 & Wednesday, November 15 | 1 to 3 PM | Off Campus
Create food bags at Westminster Free Clinic & Community Care Center, a nonprofit community care center with locations in Oxnard and Thousand Oaks, to help ensure that patients receive nutritional food as part of their health care. Contact zachary.tisinger@pepperdine.edu to join this project.

Presentation: Can AI Help Food and Housing Insecurity?
Tuesday, November 14 | 4:30 to 6 PM | Black Family Plaza Classroom 188
Fabien Scalzo, associate professor of computer science and director of Pepperdine’s Artificial Intelligence in Imaging and Neuroscience Lab, will speak on the ways artificial intelligence could be used to fight hunger and homelessness. A boxed dinner will be provided. Register to attend.

Information Session: Hunger Resources
Wednesday, November 15 | 11 AM to Noon | Black Family Plaza Classroom 189
All Pepperdine students and faculty are invited to enjoy lunch and learn about the hunger resources available to the University community. Representatives from the Manna Conejo Valley Food Bank, CalFresh Outreach, and the Student Care Team will share information about how those with food insecurity can access local resources. A boxed meal will be provided. Register to attend.

Panel Discussion: Hunger and Housing
Wednesday, November 15 | 2 to 3:30 PM | Elkins Auditorium 
Representatives from several local nonprofit organizations—Many Mansions, Crete Academy, and St. Joseph’s Center—will discuss the current state of housing insecurity.

Presentation: Breakfast in a Food Desert
Thursday, November 16 | 7 to 10 AM | Appleby Center Room 224
CES will partner with Nourish Club and Susan Edgar Helm, professor of nutritional science and director of Pepperdine’s didactic program in dietetics, to present an informative and interactive event to highlight the issue of food deserts—low-income areas in which it is difficult to access healthy food. 

Service Project with MEANS Database
Thursday, November 16 | 4 to 8 PM | Off Campus at Local Restaurants
CES will partner with Pepperdine employees and graduate students to educate local restaurateurs about reducing food waste by working with MEANS (Matching Excess And Needs for Stability) Database, an online platform that connects grocery stores and restaurants with emergency food providers to serve those in need. Dine out at your favorite restaurant and help educate businesses on food recovery. Sign up to receive instructions on how to participate.