Delivering Awareness By the Basketful
Posted: November 26, 2013
Every year, the Gannon University Center for Social Concerns
(CSC) and student leaders bring awareness for National Hunger and
Homelessness Awareness week to campus.
CSC Assistant Director Jessie Badach Hubert said the annual
event is held on college campuses nationwide prior to Thanksgiving
to encourage students to take action against hunger and
At Gannon, the week kicked off on Sunday, Nov. 17 with an
offertory collection and Mass to benefit the Second Harvest Food
The keystone event, Soup for Substance, was held Tuesday, Nov.
19 in the Yehl Ballroom, and welcomed two guest speakers, Cortez
McDaniel and Norman Hungerford, both from the Father McKenna Center
in Washington, D.C. McDaniel and Hungerford captivated the crowd
with personal stories of homelessness, as well as the charge to
millennial generation to end homelessness in their lifetime.
The event had a record turnout of 158 people, including several
community partners from the Erie HOME team, who joined the guest
speakers and students for a reception before the main event that
was sponsored by Erie- GAINS (Gannon Alliances to Improve
Neighborhood Sustainability). After the event, McDaniel remarked
that Gannon students he worked with during the week were among the
best volunteers he had encountered from groups across the
Students and faculty also participated in Penny Wars Thursday
and Friday, raising nearly $700 to donate to the Second Harvest
Food Bank. Participants voted for their favorite Thanksgiving
basket with spare change, dollars or GU Gold. The basket sponsors,
primarily student clubs and organizations, will deliver their
homemade baskets and visit the recipient families: 18 recently
resettled refugee families. As part of this 3-year partnership with
Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement and Erie-GAINS, the student
and faculty/staff groups welcomed the new Americans for their first
Thanksgiving in the U.S. and greeted them with baskets filled with
food donations from their home culture."
Hubert outlined the benefits of the week for Gannon students.
"It creates space for a university-wide culture of reflection of
how we can better be living our individual and institutional
commitments to upholding the dignity of all people," she