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Documentary traces American epidemic: childhood hunger

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

The final event in Hunger Action Week 2012 explores childhood hunger and provides opportunities to help.
Underwriting support from:

Schedule of Free Events

Wednesday, September 5: Poverty Simulation

4:30 p.m. — 6:30 p.m.

David D. Hunting branch, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids

RSVP Shelly Helmus by Sept. 1, [email protected]


Thursday, September 6: Healthy Food Cook-Off

5 p.m. — 7 p.m.

United Church Outreach Ministry, 1311 Chicago Drive SW, Wyoming

Contact Shawn Keener, [email protected]


Friday, September 7: Agency Open Houses

Agencies include local food pantries, Catherine’s Health Center, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids and Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank.

Visit the hunGRy? Facebook page for a complete listing

Contact Emma Rosauer, [email protected]


Saturday, September 8: “Hunger Hits Home”

10 a.m. — 12 p.m.

Loosemore Auditorium, Grand Valley State University

Contact Ashley Abbott, [email protected]


Hunger Action Week is on Facebook and Twitter.

After a week that included a poverty simulation, a healthy food cook-off and a day of nonprofit open houses, Hunger Action Week 2012 ends in a college classroom. Rather than preparing for an exam, these students are preparing to make their mark on poverty in Kent County.

Kids’ Food Basket presents “Hunger Hits Home” at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, in Grand Valley State University’s Loosemore Auditorium, an event hosted by the GVSU Women’s Center. Following the showing, attendees will have the chance to decorate paper bags for Kids’ Food Basket’s Sack Supper program, which provides meals to 4,800 Kent County children every school day.

“Hunger Hits Home,” a 2012 documentary produced by Share Our Strength and the Food Network, examines what Christine Lentine of Kids’ Food Basket calls the “current epidemic of childhood hunger in America.”

By one recent count, one out of every five children in Kent County is food insecure: They don’t know where their next meal is coming from. “The Food and Nutrition Coalition recognizes the devastation to a child’s development, both cognitive and physical, when s/he does not receive the proper nutrition to grow,” Lentine wrote.

By presenting “Hunger Hits Home” at Grand Valley, the Food and Nutrition Coalition is quietly drawing attention to hunger on college campuses. The GVSU Women’s Center fosters conversation on class and gender at Grand Valley, but it also operates a Student Food Pantry. Assistant Director Brittany Dernberger believes the center’s involvement in Hunger Action Week 2012 will educate Kent County about student need.

“The idea for a student food pantry was originally brought forward by a Women’s Center student staff member who noticed that students she knew were struggling at the beginning of the semester with the tough decision of either buying books or having enough food to eat over the next week,” Dernberger said. Since opening the pantry in 2009, the Women’s Center has seen an increase in demand, especially after many college students were severed from the Michigan Bridge Card program in 2011.

“Hunger Hits Home” provides viewers with a platform for advocacy — Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Kids’ Food Basket offers a variety of ways to get involved directly, from making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to organizing fundraisers.

Saturday’s showing is free to the public. Loosemore Auditorium is located in the DeVos Center at 401 Fulton Street West in downtown Grand Rapids.

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