Salt Lake Community College will be kicking off the holiday season starting November 7, 2011 with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. All SLCC students and staff are invited to participate in events throughout this week to raise awareness and support a great cause.
The Battle of Bands starts off the week. There is no charge for admission but you must bring one can of food to get in. Each extra can of food brought to the event counts as one vote. Whatever band has the most at the end of the show wins.
“The amount of student participation has roughly doubled since SLCC started the Battle of the Bands,” says Curtis A. Larsen, director of Student Life and Leadership. “We want students to be aware and have a chance to help people who are in need.”
On November 10, 2011, the Oxfam banquet will be held at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus. This will be the seventh year that SLCC has participated in this event. Students must bring a can of food for admission and any extras will be donated to Oxfam. A guest speaker will be there as well to educate everyone on the hunger issues we are facing in Utah.
“Our goal is to bring awareness of poverty that is in our community,” says Linnie Spor, service leadership coordinator.
According to the Utah Food Bank, one in ten Utahans and one in eight children live in poverty. Utah is ranked fourth in the nation for the highest rate for low food security— one in seven children is at risk for going without meals.
Utah has become one the many states that supports the “BackPack” program that is nationally known. Last year the program filled 17,864 backpacks for elementary students in Utah. More than 600 children rely on this program to get them through the weekend with healthy nutritional foods until the next school day.
“Many of the children will ask for extra food to feed their younger siblings as well who are unable to receive assistance from the program,” says Spor.
Students who want to get involved can help by donating non-perishable foods at the Thayne Center located on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
Other programs in the state that help families in need include the Road Home, which offers programs for families to get into homes, the Crossroads Urban Center has a thrift store for clothing, a food store and work resources for the unemployed and many large programs like the Utah Food Bank have food pantries located throughout the valley.
“I hope one day we can have a food pantry here on campus,” says Spor. “There are many students at SLCC that are in need of these services.”