Category: Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is a national week of awareness started by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign against Hunger and Homelessness. Every year, the Center for Civic Engagement hosts a week of programming and service events. This year from November 10th until November 17th Civic Engagement will collaborate with community partners and student leaders to draw attention to these issues as well as work to eradicate them in our very own community.

Many people would assume that hunger and homelessness issues only affect people dispersed around our community, but that is not the case. While analyzing these issues we also have to take a close look at our campus. So just how many students are affected at a campus crowned America’s Most Beautiful in 2017? I can imagine it might be hard to picture that so here are some statistics to help.

  1. “15% of College of Charleston Students frequently struggle to get enough to eat.”
  2. “An estimated 3,375 (30%) of students are housing insecure.”

(The Riley Center for Livable Communities, 2017)

During this week of awareness, we challenge you all to join the movement and help us fight to end hunger and homelessness and its impacts on our campus and community.

How do you join the movement?

  • Get educated and know the facts
  • Volunteer and offer your support
  • Advocate for sustainable food policy

Take a look below at some amazing articles highlighting efforts being made by people and students around Charleston!

Homeless and Hungry at America’s Most Beautiful College

Waters, D. (2017, October). Homeless and hungry at America’s most beautiful college. Charleston City Paper, Retrieved from

Student Food Pantry Opens on Campus

Kerr, A. (2018, September). Student Food Pantry Opens on Campus, The College Today, retrieved from

 Feed the Need dinner pulls in $500k for Charleston area homeless programs

Barna, S. (2018, November). Feed the Need dinner pulls in $500K for Charleston area homelss programs, The Post and Courier, Retrieved from

Photographer campaigns to educate about homelessness

Elingburg, Scott D. (2018, June). Photographer campaigns to educate about homelessness, Charleston Scene, Retrieved from

Author: Dejanilya Dupree

The Realities of Homelessness by Alli Camp

“Homelessness isn’t sexy.” Anthony Haro bluntly made this claim at a recent Alternative Break orientation, before sending out a group of CofC students to work with food insecurity and homelessness in Asheville, NC. The students laughed; Anthony smiled. Yes, the phrase sounded a bit silly, but Anthony was making a good point. Students jump at the opportunity to volunteer in schools or hospitals or nursing homes. But the streets? Not so much.

There is a stigma associated with people experiencing homelessness. Often times we feel a dividing distinction between “us” and “them.” The lines of this distinction have been blurred as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2014 Point-in-Time Count shows 34% of people experiencing homelessness are under the age of 24. This total number of un-housed teens hit 45,000 in 2014 (National Alliance to End Homelessness). CofC students, this is us. This is our age bracket. Generation Y. So why are we standing by and just watching?

In order to change these stereotypes, we must take the initiative to educate ourselves.  Many stereotypes come from not properly understanding your own privilege.  Many of us are under the impression that if you experience homelessness then you are not working hard enough to change your situation, and this assumption comes from not knowing the systems that can keep people homeless.  With proper education, we can then do quality community service that actually helps those who experience homelessness.

As an aspiring socially active millennial, I saw the error of my ways after returning from an Alternative Break trip where we combatted hunger and homelessness in the Atlanta community. I reached out to Anthony Haro, Executive Director at the Lowcountry Homeless Coalition here in Charleston. I wanted to make a real, sustainable difference in lives that are so often passed over, discarded for “lack of importance.”

I volunteered to help with the 2015 Point-In-Time Count. The basic requirements of a PIT are to identify everyone who is experiencing homelessness on a singular night in January. Because it would be impossible to survey thousands of people in one night with the resources given, the surveys are done over a two-week period in January, all with the goal of gauging how many are with out a home on the night of January 24th. The data helps the federal government as well as local communities better understand the nature and prevalence of homelessness. The scope of my volunteerism remained within the Lowcountry counties. The 2013 PIT Count identified 6,035 people unsheltered, living in South Carolina. This marked a 28.3% increase compared to the previous count in 2011.

Astonishing. This is truly frustrating because ending homelessness is not impossible. As our economy stands right now, we are actually very capable of ending this crisis, this epidemic of American homelessness. It is a tactic referred to as “Housing First.” Beginning in 2010, President Obama’s “Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness” explains why the “Housing First” approach is imperative in wiping out chronic homelessness: “Stable housing is the foundation upon which people build their lives — absent a safe, decent, affordable place to live, it is next to impossible to achieve good health, positive educational outcomes or reach one’s economic potential.”

Nevertheless, between classes, internships, and maintaining a healthy social life, college students are not the ideal candidates for changing the face of homelessness at the moment. But this is not to say we are helpless. National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week was designed specifically to offer universities and communities alike the chance to contribute to a national social movement. The National Coalition for the Homeless hopes to emphasize that “You can help to change the conversation about stereotypes, improve policy, help service providers, and so much more.”

Why not start this week? Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is nationally recognized as the time to do your part to fight homelessness and food insecurity.   We will be working with several community partners and holding events such as clothing drives, community cleanups, and trips to the food bank.  From there, the week will be filled with relevant documentaries and informed open-dialogue about the social issue.

Want more information about HHAW service projects or events? Contact

Interested in volunteering for 2016’s Point-In-Time Count? Contact Anthony Haro at

HHAW 2013 T-shirt image



Thanks to everyone who made this year’s Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week a success!

Special thanks to our partnering offices:

The Office of Sustainability

Dining Services

Cougar Activities Board (CAB)

Charleston County Human Services Commission

Jewish Student Union/Hillel

College of Charleston Athletics




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