As part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, a group of University of Maryland students prepared lunch at Community Vision, a center that provides supportive services, education and training to homeless men and women in Silver Spring Maryland. The students were all a part of the Beyond the Classroom program at the university.

Every year as the holidays approach, hundreds of schools, colleges and universities across the country host events for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week.

The events, sponsored by the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness and the
National Coalition for the Homeless, are de- signed to teach students about the needs that exist in their communities and to encourage volunteerism and involvement.

Here In Washington, D.C., Georgetown University students volunteered at the Capital Area Food Bank for an afternoon to sort food donations into large bins.

“I’d for sure do it again,” said Stephanie Wolfram. “It’s good to get out of the Georgetown bubble.”
Her fellow student, Will Cousino agreed.

“So often we encounter poverty in the Capital, but rarely are we in a position to better understand it or the projects working to alleviate it,” he said. ”It matters to me because in the city it’s a very visible reality for so many and it deserves the attention of those who can make a difference.”

Meanwhile, George Washington University hosted two Faces of Homelessness panels featuring speakers from the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Speaker Jackie Grimball was impressed by the questions students asked her. They wanted to know if homeless people were getting the help they need- ed and how students could play a part in strengthening policies intended to assist the homeless.

“All of them have cared and that’s blown me away,” said Grimball.

Another Faces of Homelessness panel spoke to two groups of 7th through 12th graders at the Field School in Northwest D.C.

First, David Harris and Andre Colter spoke to a group of 25 students in the community service club, then to a larger group of middle school students.

Colter was honest with the students about his apprehensions about sharing his story with them.

“This is the age group that set my blankets on fire … this is the age group that I don’t want to label and I don’t want you to feel labeled because this is also the age group that can change everything,” said Colter.