When one thinks about hungry families and individuals sleeping on the streets and struggling to get by, one generally pictures large cities like New York or Philadelphia. However, the hungry and homeless inhabit Mercer County too, according to Annie Pasqua, assistant director of Campus Life for Service Learning.
To make students more aware of the homeless population in their own backyard, Rider has been hosting Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week for seven years now.
“The main goal is to bring awareness of issues that people face on a daily basis and that there are people here in Mercer County that struggle with their basic needs,” Pasqua said.
Several organizations were involved in planning the events that took place this week, including the Bonner scholars and the Community Service Council, which consisted of representatives from clubs and organizations who want to get involved.
One of the students in Community Service Council, junior Joe Landolfi, has worked to help organize the SHARE Project, a sleep-out event to show solidarity with Mercer County’s homeless.
“I wanted to support the cause of hunger and homelessness,” he said. “I’ve seen it through my experience working at the soup kitchen and getting to know people.”
The SHARE project began at 8 p.m. on Thursday in Sweigart Auditorium. Hot chocolate and live entertainment were provided.The sleep-out began around 10 p.m. Landolfi said they planned to sleep outside unless the weather became severe.