Feinstein Challenge raises donations and awareness

April West

Throughout April, Students’ War Against Hunger and Poverty is partaking in the Feinstein Challenge. SWAHP raised 2,105 food items and $600 for the Emergency Shelter of Fox Valley in their 2006 Challenge.
The challenge has three components, the first being the education of students on issues such as poverty and holding food drives at elementary schools.
Second, SWAHP sponsors a food and fund drive in the academic buildings on campus.
Finally, group members recruit other organizations to take part in a “dorm storm” in which students knock on every door on campus asking for food and money donations for the challenge.
The food and money from this year’s dorm-storm will be donated to St. Joseph’s Food Pantry in Appleton.
The three groups that gained the most points received pizza parties. Sigma Phi Epsilon had the most points with 404, Phi Kappa Tau came in second with 300, and Circle K was third with 216.
“The dorm storm [April 12] went great. We raised 1,800 points in just one and a half hours!” said SWAHP member Liz Corey.
This past week SWAHP educated children about poverty and homelessness and held food drives at Lincoln and Edison elementary schools.
They are also currently having a competition between staff and professors at different academic buildings, ending today.
According to the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness (www.nscahh.org), the challenge is a national food and fundraising drive that will collect over 3 million food items/dollars to benefit hunger relief agencies in communities across the country.
For the past eight years, the Feinstein Foundation has pledged $1 million to be distributed among hunger relief agencies that organize food and fundraising drives during the months of March and April, the NSCAHH website states.
Each agency receives a portion of the $1 million based on the amount of food and money it collects during this time period in ratio to the total amount of food and money raised nationwide.
In other words, the more food and money an agency raises, the more money it will receive from the Feinstein Challenge.
This year, the National Student Campaign has teamed up with the Feinstein Foundation to work with colleges, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools to host food drives and fundraisers to support hunger relief agencies.
The Feinstein Foundation is providing the money and motivation, the National Student Campaign is providing the network and materials, and local schools and agencies are providing the volunteers, ideas and action.
One of the incentives for the challenge is that the United States is the wealthiest country in the world, yet 38.2 million people are at risk of experiencing hunger every year.
Such pervasive hunger does not exist because of a lack of resources – the U.S. produces more than enough food to feed everyone in the country. Hunger in the U.S. is merely the result of poor distribution and distorted priorities.
Programs designed to end hunger are under-funded, says NSCAHH, even as more people turn to emergency food providers as the cost of living continues to rise.
Unfortunately, agencies are often forced to turn away those in need because they do not have enough resources available to meet all the requests they receive.
These problems are often exacerbated during the spring months, when food bank and food pantry shelves become empty as donations decrease following the generous holiday season, states NSCAHH.
Additionally, agencies often receive an increased number of requests for food assistance during the spring and summer months, as young children eligible for school breakfast and lunch programs do not have access to these vital programs while on breaks.
It is clear that hunger – especially at this time of year – is a growing epidemic that is striking communities nationwide. Why not do something about it?