Campus Walk Kicks Off Hunger Month
November 6, 2023 – Hundreds of students participated in the annual Hunger Walk, part of the College’s continuing commitment to service through its November Hunger Action Month, organized by the Department of Spiritual Life and Service (SLS).
Throughout the month, there are many opportunities for food and monetary donations, which support local, national, and international food charities.
Food insecurity is on the rise in the United States, with nearly 13% of the population food-insecure in 2022. The trend is true globally, as well, with a United Nations-estimated 828 million people affected by hunger.
President Kevin Weinman joined the large group of enthusiastic Red Foxes, who were not deterred by the brisk, 40-degree weather on the first day of November.
“It’s alarming and heartbreaking just how widespread food insecurity is as a problem in this country,” President Weinman said. He thanked the participants in the Hunger Walk and encouraged the Marist community to stay involved.
Students take part in the Hunger Walk on campus. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.
Here are ways you can participate in the remainder of Hunger Action Month:
- From Nov. 6 to Nov. 10, SLS places bags and boxes in all the on-campus housing locations for students to donate food that goes to local families in the area.
- Nov. 10 is “Buck Hunger” day, in which members of SLS will ask members of the Marist community to donate a buck, which will go to the Dutchess Outreach Food Pantry.
- On Nov. 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Cabaret, the Hunger Meal aims to teach student participants about global food disparities through interactive activities.
- Additional opportunities to contribute will be available throughout November as well, so be on the lookout for posted signs and announcements.
Marist Hunger Walk participants make their way down Route 9. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.
At the walk, after departing Champagnat, participants made their way past Tenney Stadium and onto Route 9, where they walked from the campus’s south gate to its central gate.
“There is no greater feeling than people honking on Route 9 when you pass them with the banner showing their support as well,” said Paige Duffany '24, an SLS board member who helps organize Hunger Action Month. “As a Marist community, it’s important to also take care of and give back to the greater community, especially one that supports us in so many ways.”
The decision to expand the walk’s route beyond the campus gates was made a decade ago by Brother Michael Flanigan, who has long advised and organized Hunger Action Month.
Brother Michael Flanigan, who has organized Hunger Action Month events for over a decade at Marist. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.
“When I arrived at Marist, the walk was entirely on campus,” Brother Michael said. “Expanding it onto Route 9 was our way of educating the Poughkeepsie community about what we’re doing to fight hunger.”
“It is extremely important that our school takes part in hunger awareness initiatives because this is such an issue in our community,” said Kayla Ciuba '25, also an SLS board member. “It’s not as if this is a problem we never see. It is present right here in Poughkeepsie.”
Donations and contributions during Hunger Action Month go to local, national, and international organizations, such as the Dutchess Outreach food bank, the Guadalupe School in Brownsville, Texas — founded in part by the Marist Brothers — and the global nonprofit Bread for the World.
Students from the Department of Spiritual Life and Service collect donations at the Hunger Walk. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.
Marist’s dining provider, Gourmet Dining, also participates in various initiatives around campus and in the Poughkeepsie community, including the Hunger Meals event. In addition, Gourmet donates remaining York Street products, Eastdale bagels, and other bakery items each Friday throughout the year.
“Gourmet Dining is committed to supporting Hunger Action Month with several initiatives, including monetary and food donations to Dutchess Outreach,” said Beth Clarke Cookinham, District Director of Marketing, Sales, and Community Relations at Gourmet. “It’s a key part of our mission to contribute to our local communities, including through this important work with our partners at Marist.”
Students who work on these events similarly feel the importance of community service.
“It’s been important to me during my time at Marist that I pursue opportunities to give back to my community,” said Mackenzie O’Rourke '24, an events organizer on the SLS board. “Getting to plan these initiatives as well as other SLS projects has been the most rewarding experience, helping me become a more empathetic, well-rounded individual.”
Learn more about the Department of Spiritual Life and Service.