Hunger Coalition: A Time Honored Tradition

President Elizabeth Kistler leads students in packaging lunches. Photo courtesy Jami Haren.

By Ellen Petersen, The Circuit.

Founded in 1984, the Hunger Coalition started with a small group of 16 giving up lunch to help serve those closest to them.  Today, “Hunger Co.” has more than 360 students giving up dinners each week on their Skip-A-Meal plan and 175 families and counting waiting for sack lunches on Saturday.

Started by students, the group now involves faculty and delivers each week of the year.  It operates by using the money students would spend on their dinner to supply the groceries for Hunger Coalition’s sack lunches.

However, for those volunteering with Hunger Coalition, it means more than simply skipping their Wednesday dinners.

“I love delivering to the residents,” said senior Jami Haren, vice president of the Hunger Coalition. “It is so eye opening to see the living conditions of people close to us. Especially for me as a future teacher, we talk a lot about the different backgrounds kids come from and how we need to be aware of that.”

Jami is one of five officers, all of whom are first year officers. Senior Elizabeth Kistler is president.

“I was in San Francisco this summer and I ran into a man who had a sign saying, ‘I’m hungry, I’m thirsty;’ [he was] just looking for water or food,” Kistler said. “That really stuck with me. I always think of Jesus in the Gospel explaining how he will separate the goats from the sheep and how he said, ‘I was hungry and you didn’t give me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink.’”

For both Kistler and Haren, the most important part of it all is ensuring that the College fosters its missionary spirit and uses it locally.  Their patroness is Mother Teresa and both would like to see a similar spirit in the student body.

“It is wonderful to go to other places like India, but [Mother Teresa] also says to remember the people closest to us,” Haren said.  “I think people have a mindset that going to India is more important. You think of the poor there and they can seem even poorer. It is like we are doing a greater good by going over there, but we can do just as much good, if not more, here.”

“As college students, we are so busy,” she said. “We have responsibilities and we need to fill those responsibilities.  But while that is important, we have to remember that these people need food whether we are busy or not.”

Hunger Coalition is available for anyone to help. Lunches are packaged on Friday afternoons in the Dining Hall and meals are delivered Saturday mornings.  For more information, contact Elizabeth Kistler at kist1849@ravens.benedictine.edu or Jami Haren at hare1880@ravens.benedictine.edu.