North Carolina fell above the national average for food insecurity with 15.7 percent of people under the national average of 14.6 percent from 2008-10, according to Feeding America, meaning that 15.7 percent of people living in N.C. do not have the means to sufficiently feed themselves.
With these numbers in mind UNC Charlotte’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) are working toward a goal of 5,000 cans to help support local hunger in a series of events called Let’s Can Hunger, which will begin during Homecoming Week and continue until April.
“We don’t really think about hunger because it’s not happening to us, so we don’t think it exists. This is a good way for us to really get involved with it and get a little bit more passion about it,” said Denise Sanchez the project leader for Let’s Can Hunger.
The first event for the food drive will be Occupy Stomachs, which plays off of the larger Occupy WallStreet movement. SIFE hopes the hype from the larger movement will seep into their food drive and get students more active in helping those in need.
“We were just thinking, what is a good way that people can get excited about donating cans and about hunger in general because it’s really hard to get college students excited about hunger. We thought a rally would be exciting,” said Sanchez, a sophomore at UNC Charlotte.
Wednesday, Feb. 1, through Friday, Feb. 3, and Monday, Feb 6, through Friday, Feb. 10, members of SIFE will protest by Belk Tower in between class changes to encourage students to donate cans, no matter how large or small the donation. There will be about 10 people protesting from the organization and any student is welcome to join the protests and make their own picket signs.
“The point of [Let’s Can Hunger] is to raise hunger awareness, raise cans and also raise some kind of lasting hunger relief,” said Sanchez.
During the Homecoming Parade the organization will also have a float, and is looking for students wanting to participate. All students have to do to get involved is donate one can. There can be up to 50 students walking with the float during the parade. The Homecoming Parade will be held Feb. 11 at 10:30 a.m. and begins in Lot 6 and ends in Lot 19.
“It’s going to be a protest but in the parade,” said Sanchez. “If we could get 50 people for the parade that would be amazing.”
By the end of the two weeks leading up to Homecoming SIFE hopes to collect at least 1,000 cans. If students cannot donate cans the organization encourages them to donate online to Second Harvest Food Bank, where all of the collected food will be sent.
To help increase their donations SIFE is partnering with the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and their comedy show during Homecoming Week where those attending are encouraged to bring cans to the event. The show will be Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union multipurpose room.
SIFE members worked at a local Salvation Army soup kitchen to prepare themselves for the drive and bring more awareness of the need to feed the hungry in our city.