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Hunger Week Recap

Throughout the week of Mar. 25-29, the Meredith Nutrition and Wellness Association (MNWA) hosted their annual Hunger Week. Hunger Week consists of a number of events centered around health and food. The MNWA stated on their Instagram page that these events help students learn about “how [individuals] can both receive and provide aid for food assistance and other health support.” This year, the events hosted were a Food Drive Kickoff, Basic Needs Fair, Garden Planning and Education, Share Your Plate, and Meals on Wheels Senior Hunger Seminar. 

The Herald spoke with Karla Sacerio, ‘25, the vice president of MNWA, about her involvement with hunger week this year. She spoke about how she participated in selling bundt cakes for their Basic Needs Fair event on Tuesday. At this event, she “sold bundt cakes, the annual recipe book, and informed students about different free resources that they have access to on campus.” Sacerio shared that this is her favorite event because of how hard students work to prepare them. At this event, they also shared recipe cards with students and had a spinning wheel with different prizes, including stress balls shaped like broccoli. When asked about the significance of Hunger Week, Sacerio responded by saying that food and nutrition is extremely important because humans rely on it, and that knowledge about proper nutrition can help create relief for  people with many different issues. She also stated that “nutritional food isn't available to everyone, and [she thinks] that it is so important to advocate for individuals that are ‘food-hungry.’”  She  also believes that “so many illnesses can either be cured, prevented, or even maintained with the proper nutrition.” 

The MNWA President Anna Moriah Fung ‘24 organized the Basic Needs Fair by recruiting volunteers, compiling resources, and finding organizations both on and off campus to participate. When asked about the importance of events like Hunger Week for nutrition education she said that “when someone has the desire to learn more about nutrition and make the respective changes to their eating habits, they deserve to be able to implement them, so food access and equity is a societal issue that we need to continue to address.” She also added that “‘Healthy eating’ goes beyond having a giant plate of kale every day, and [she thinks] it's important that especially college students understand how comprehensive nutrition can be as an aspect of [their] lifestyle.” One event she particularly enjoyed was the Meals on Wheels Senior Hunger Awareness seminar. This event raised awareness about food insecurity within senior populations. The event was described by Fung as “an interactive time of engagement and learning.”

The Senior Hunger Seminar was also spoken very highly about by Dr. Rebecca Hagedorn-Hatfield. Dr. Hatfield plays a large role in organizing Hunger Week after being given a grant three years ago to raise awareness about food insecurity and hunger related issues. She described her role being “to really support the students and their ideas and help them coordinate all of the steps that must occur to pull off a week-long event.” The importance of this event to her can be summed up by her statement that “Food is central to [people’s] daily lives” not only because people’s  bodies “need it to survive but also because food encompasses [people’s] social and cultural identities,” noting that it provides people comfort and is used as a form of artistic expression among other things. Dr. Hatfield added that “Knowledge about food and nutrition empowers [people] to support [their] own health from a physical, mental, and emotional standpoint.” 

Dr. Hatfield concluded by saying “Student voices are incredibly important to changing a food environment - especially on a college campus.” She encourages students to share their food experiences on campus and advocate for change. 

By Liese Devine, Features Editor


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