Hungry for Change
A collaborative event designed to raise awareness and promote action for the issue of food insecurity in the Grand Rapids community, Hunger Action Week has yet again made its appearance on Grand Valley State University’s campus.
Hunger Action Week features a variety of events and opportunities for GVSU students to get
involved with and to stay informed. One event was the critically acclaimed documentary “A Place at
the Table,” which was shown Sept. 10 in the DeVos building on GVSU’s downtown campus.
“The film gives a sobering overview of the plight of hunger in America and offers solutions for
those wanting to address this issue,” said Brittany Dernberger, assistant director of the Women’s
Resource Center at GVSU.
After the film, a panel of representatives, including Dernberger, discussed what is being done on a
local level regarding food justice and the lack of food access for all members of the community,
and how a lack of food security specifically impacts college students.
This weeklong event not only aims to bring awareness to the GVSU community through on-campus
resources, but also reaches out to surrounding hunger prevention centers such as God’s Kitchen,
headed by registered dietitian Amy Van Fossen.
“God’s Kitchen is a program of Catholic charities which agreed to sponsor the showing of ‘A Place
at the Kitchen’ at Grand Valley for Hunger Action Week,” VanFossen said. “At God’s Kitchen, we are
focusing on educating the community on the importance of healthy food donations for our meal
programs – an idea we hope to bring to the Grand Valley campus.”
Also contributing to the event is Emma Rosauer of Access of West Michigan. Access’ mission is to
eliminate hunger and reduce the impact of poverty in Kent County by raising awareness of the
issues in the community.
“Access has partnered with several other local anti-hunger organizations for the past several years
to bring Hunger Action Week to Grand Rapids,” Rosauer said. “We are helping to facilitate the ‘A
Place at the Table’ showing to help promote our mission.”
Though many organizations are a part of Hunger Action Week, the main coordinator remains the
Women’s Resource Center on campus, which helped to promote the event to college students. The
Women’s Center helped sponsor other on-campus events for the week, such as a food and
nutrition coalition meeting on Sept. 11 and a poverty simulation on Sept. 12.
“When we talk about hunger and lack of access to food, many people think about food pantries or
food banks,” Dernberger said. “While these are great resources, we know that they are a short-term
‘Band-Aid’ solution to hunger. Hunger Action Week gives us a chance to raise awareness about the
insecurity that exists and also a way to talk about solutions.”
The Student Food Pantry, part of GVSU’s Women’s Center, is currently accepting food donations.
For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/women_cen/.