Poverty simulation promotes hunger awareness before the holidays

Poverty simulation promotes hunger awareness before the holidays

To promote hunger awareness, Kennesaw State University’s Campus Awareness, Resource & Empowerment Center hosted “Hunger 101” on Nov. 8 with the Atlanta Community Food Bank in the Betty Siegel Recreational Center.

In the simulation, students were given packets that gave them a description of the person they would role-play. It included that character’s income, marital status and job, along with a bus pass and some fake cash. Students then attempted to obtain enough food for one day using the resources available.

The room in the rec center was set up like a simulated community that included a neighborhood where students could move around freely and a town that required students to use the bus. The character each student played had their own unique set of circumstances: some had bus passes, others had cars, and some only had the change in their hypothetical wallet to move around the simulated community.

Tables were set up to represent resources that could be used to find food, like a social security office and a food pantry. Students without bus passes quickly ran into trouble when they had no money to purchase bus tokens to get around.

Atlanta Community Food Bank’s education and outreach coordinator, Brittney Palmer, led the demonstration. She described how food banks operate and how they benefit communities. There are over 220 food banks in the country — every state has at least one, and Palmer said Georgia has eight.

The website for KSU’s CARE Center explains that someone experiences food insecurity when they lack “sustainable physical or economic access to enough safe, nutritious and socially acceptable food for a healthy and productive life.”

During “Hunger 101,” students collectively made a list of the types of community members that food banks help. The top categories were kids, the working poor, the uninsured and the elderly.

“We can serve a lot more people more quickly and a lot more efficiently,” Palmer said. “They are able to receive food in their own communities, and they’re able to receive the kind of food that they need.”

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Students Alexus Brittain (left) and Dani Frank (right) prepare their table for a hunger activity. Photo credit: Austin Mcmillan

Briana Colleluori, a freshman majoring in biology, attended the event for her leadership class and found it informational. She has experience with volunteer work, packaging Thanksgiving bags and Easter baskets in past years.

“I think it really got people thinking as to what it’s like for everyday people out there,” Colleluori said.

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