Student Group Collects Cans, Raises Hunger Awareness
Marquette Ending Hunger, an NMU student organization, is teaming up with the 32nd annual TV6 Canathon to collect non-perishable food items for food pantries and to raise awareness about hunger in the Upper Peninsula. Collection bins will be located in every campus building, as well as many regional schools and businesses, from Nov. 10-Dec. 4. The effort will also include a residence hall competition, social media challenge and hunger awareness event.
“If you think about it, Northern is about half the population of Marquette,” said Lauren Larsen, president of Marquette Ending Hunger. “So if we get the students, faculty and staff on board with this, we can really make a change. I think it’s also important to emphasize the fact that the TV6 Canathon is one of the largest donations of food that the Upper Peninsula sees every single year."
The residence hall and on-campus apartment competition challenges all residents to collect the most non-perishables in order to win a pizza party. The challenge runs in accordance with the dates of the TV 6 Canathon. The pizza party will be donated by Marquette Ending Hunger. The social media competition involves taking photos of original food creations, tagging friends and posting them with #shareyourfoodchallenge. Friends then must share their own creative dishes or donate to gofundme.com/shareyourfood, a fundraiser set up by Marquette Ending Hunger that directly benefits the TV6 Canathon.
NMU Fights Famine is a 24-hour awareness event, lasting from 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15. It encourages campus and community members to seek pledge donations for every hour they abstain from eating (fasting for the full 24 hours is not required). Participants are also encouraged to join in a canned food drive from noon to 3 p.m. that Saturday, collecting non-perishables from neighborhoods surrounding NMU. At 3 p.m., a closing event in the University Center will feature special guests from the Room at the Inn homeless shelter, an appearance from NMU President Fritz Erickson and a meal served by Simply Superior to end the 24-hour fast.
According to the TV6 website, the Canathon has received more than 3.19 million pounds of non-perishable donations from Upper Peninsula communities since 1982, with about 142,000 pounds contributed in 2013. But Larsen said the need throughout the Upper Peninsula is so great that the food accumulated through the annual Canathon barely lasts the year.
“One thing I’ve heard from the food pantries and from the people who work in this field is that by the end of October every single year, the cupboards are bare in the pantries,” said Larsen. “So it’s important that we get a lot of donations to make the food last and feed those who are in need.”