Each year, one week before Thanksgiving, National Coalition
for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and
Homelessness co-sponsor National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
During this week, a number of schools, communities and cities take part
in a nationwide effort to bring greater awareness to the problems of
hunger and homelessness. If your community has already joined this effort,
this guide can serve as an evaluator for past efforts and possibly offer
fresh ideas for the future. If this is your first time participating,
this guide will explain how your community can get involved!
Organizing events will not seem very substantial if you
do not stop to ask: Why is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness
Week so important? Participating in National Hunger and Homelessness
Awareness Week not only brings greater awareness to your community,
but also helps to promote the national endeavor to end hunger and homelessness.
The plight of those without a home can be both lonely and difficult.
Addressing their struggles by organizing and participating in this week
may bring greater solidarity and understanding, as well as promote future
involvement. Events, such as "One Night Without a Home," help
people realize the difficulties that homeless persons daily face. Talk
about these issues with your coordinators and discuss what impact such
an event might have on your community. It is imperative to dispel myths
that label homelessness as someone else's problem or claim that an end
to homelessness is impossible.
November 14-20, 2010. Early planning is important. Begin
recruiting interested people, outlining and planning events, and contacting
organizations that might be interested in helping and/or participating.
The more time you spend on organizing now, the better the week will
go in November. Remember that the week does not have to be full of events.
Especially if you are just starting out, it might be better to choose
one or two events, which will be dynamic and focused. The solution to
hunger and homelessness will not happen in one week, but a dedicated
and timely effort in planning your week will contribute greatly to the
First things first: you need a team. Putting together
a dedicated and enthusiastic team is important for a successful week.
You may already know many people who would like to join the effort.
Don't be afraid to ask those whom you think would not be interested
- you may be surprised. Look within community organizations that you
are involved with. Even if you are not active in a particular group,
you can look around for groups that may already be active in hunger
and homelessness. It is important to talk to people about your ideas
both to promote interest and to get feedback. Discuss some of the events
that you plan to do and be open to changes and new ideas. It is important
to know the community you will be working with and to try to adapt the
events accordingly. After forming a team, it is important to decide
on the logistics as soon as possible. Here is a sample check list of
some, but not all, questions which need answers: