Kent State to be First University Stop for National Hunger Exhibit
Words by Marissa Nichols
This is Hunger, an interactive national exhibit, will come to Kent Oct. 13-16 to share the intimate stories of dozens of Americans living in hunger.
The exhibit tours cities from New York to Los Angeles, and was launched in 2016 by MAZON — A Jewish Response to Hunger. According to the website, the organization engages the American-Jewish community and anti-hunger catalysts to help end hunger in America through a variety of projects.
The exhibit will include portraits, storytelling techniques, and hands-on activities, along with a 14-minute audio-visual experience inside of a 53-foot semi trailer. Participants will sit at a communal table, meet real people struggling with hunger and be invited to join Mazon in taking action and advocating for change.
Kent State is the first university the interactive exhibit will stop at; it usually goes to churches, synagogues and community centers.
The Office of Experiential Education & Civic Engagement has partnered with the Women’s Center, Hillel and the College of Public Health to bring Mazon to the community. The interim Director for the Women’s Center, Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, found a news article on the exhibit and decided to reach out to hunger fighters across the Kent campus.
Director of the OEECE, Amanda Paulus, invited Mazon to campus and now acts as the main coordinator for the event.
Paulus found this exhibit important to bring to Kent as founder of the Flashes Fighting Hunger committee. This committee is dedicated to raising awareness about food insecurity on campus and in the surrounding community.
“We know that hunger and homelessness is a real concern locally, nationally and globally. Our county of residence, Portage County, has a food insecurity rate of 14.8 percent of the population, while the child food insecurity rate is 23.2 percent,” Paulus says, referencing the Akron Canton Food Bank.
The committee raises awareness of hunger and homelessness, engages the community in anti-poverty programs and contacts every person with food and shelter resources. Because the purpose of the committee align with those of This is Hunger, Paulus says that partnering with Mazon can better accomplish their goal in our own community and alter the trajectory of hunger.
“As the evidence suggests, there is a need on this campus and in this community to raise awareness of the issue of food insecurity and we are poised with cross-departmental and collaborative efforts to launch this cause into the spotlight,” Paulus says.
The space holds 30 people at a time for 45 minutes, and the trailer will be located in the Kent State University R-12 Schwartz Center parking lot off Summit Street. The exhibit time slots run from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, 12 to 2 p.m. Sunday and 9 to 11 a.m. Monday.
On Oct. 14, walk-ins will be welcome from 1 to 3 p.m. to accommodate those in Kent for Homecoming.
It is recommended to arrive five minutes early, and those who arrive later than five minutes past their reserved time slot will not be admitted. For those who need to use the ADA lift available to enter the truck, it is asked to arrive five to 10 minutes early.
Click here to register for the This is Hunger event.
For more information on the exhibit and the MAZON mission, go to thisishunger.org.