Annually, the week before Thanksgiving, National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is observed. This week aims to highlight that many in the United States and nations around the world struggle with finding their next meal, and having to choose whether to eat, or having a place to stay. This reality faces more of us than openly acknowledged; as uncomfortable as it can be to confront this crisis, it is immensely more uncomfortable for those struggling with hunger and homelessness.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, approximately 43 million people live at the poverty level in the United States, and over half a million people are homeless on any given day. Additionally, 42 million Americans live with food insecurity.
Three ways that you can you help address hunger and homelessness in geographic areas nearest NOVA campuses are by educating yourself and others about available resources; volunteering; and sharing the initiatives highlighting these needs.
- Area agencies that address housing needs and food supports include (but are not limited to):
- Arlington Food Assistance Center
- Emergency Food Assistance
- United Community Ministries, Inc.
- Food for Others
- Dulles South Food Pantry
- Loudoun Hunger Relief
- Sterling Park Food Pantry
- Bread of Life Food Pantry
- NVFS SERVE Campus (food pantry and homeless shelter)
- Homeless Shelters in Suburban Virginia
- Second Story (homeless shelter for teens, and young adults with children)
- Loudoun County Family Services (food and housing resources)
- Northern Virginia Family Service (food and housing resources)
- Arlington Community Assistance Bureau (CAB) (food and housing resources)
- Prince William County ACTS (food and housing resources)
- Fairfax County Emergency Shelters
- Homeless Shelter Referral List
2. The following local agencies are seeking volunteers during this awareness week:
- Homeaid Northern Virginia
- Student Volunteer Council
- Miriam’s Kitchen
- So Others Might Eat (SOME)
- Queen Jefferson Women’s Missionary Society
3. Learn about the #shareyourtable initiative, and share via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!
Further expand your awareness and advocacy efforts by learning about and sharing organizations not included here, and speak with your community members about what you can do in your neighborhood and community circle to address this issue impacting so many, especially with its amplification during this holiday season during a pandemic.
If you have questions about food or housing for yourself or another NOVA community member, please contact Financial Stability and Advocacy Centers at firstname.lastname@example.org or The Office of Wellness and Mental Health at email@example.com.
Warmest wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving!