The Daily Gamecock

Feed An Empty Heart discusses hunger and poverty in the Midlands

Hannah House, Christ Central Ministries and End Child Hunger SC hosted an event called “Feed An Empty Heart 2017” on Thursday night. A walk-through photo gallery showcased pictures of peoples’ homes destroyed from the flood and the issues many have of how to provide nutritious foods to their family. Other photos included celebrations of successful healthy cooking and birthday parties for their children. The purpose of the event was to bring awareness to issues in the Midlands, such as hunger and poverty, and provide solutions for the problems.

The event included a guest speaker, Dr. Maryah Fram from USC’s College of Social Work, along with a panel of many important advocates discussing the issues of poverty in the Midlands. Dr. Fram opened the discussion by defining hunger insecurity and by telling a story about a young girl who realized her family was struggling to pay for food. Then, the panelists answered a variety of questions ranging from ways to educate people on nutrition to the importance of transportation. Also, many first-hand stories were told about experiencing hunger. All efforts were to bring more awareness to the issue of poverty and to provide ways to combat hunger in the Midlands.

Robin Rankin, Resident Manager and Volunteer Coordinator for Hannah House, believes poverty is an issue that needs to be talked about.

“These types of topics have a stigma, you know, and they also have this bad thing where people feel that only a certain type of person deals with this,” Rankin said.

Whether or not poverty is tied to a certain group, Rankin believes awareness to the issue is a necessity in bringing change.

Solving the issue of poverty and hunger in the Midlands runs deeper than bringing donations to a food drive. One of the Hannah House residents said while she was still living in poverty she had to decide between paying her rent or feeding her children. The root of poverty can be from a variety of issues, but one thing in common is that there are neighbors in the Columbia community that will go to sleep hungry tonight due to poverty.

College students might feel like they cannot do anything about such a huge issue, but there are many ways to help. Second-year graduate student of social work and intern at Hannah House Te’Lysha Peaks believes each department should speak out about poverty issues in class or hold seminars on similar topics.

“They should all have some type of discussion about homelessness and the issues that affect our community,” Peaks said.

Rankin suggests for college students to volunteer or host a donation drive to bring awareness across campus. She says any little act can enrich someone else’s life.

“What we’re trying to do here is to try our hardest to let people know that in this community, your community, you matter," Rankin said. "You matter in this fight, you matter in this war because what you do helps a little child, it helps an elderly person, it helps a family get closer."

The organizations involved in the event are trying to bring more awareness to the issues of neighboring communities in order to help those people in poverty.


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