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Poverty Awareness Week Activities Scheduled on Campus

Campus Ministry at Providence College will mark Poverty Awareness Week by decorating TOMS shoes, hosting an Oxfam Hunger Banquet, and hearing about the international work of Catholic Relief Services.

“The purpose of Poverty Awareness Week is to spark discussion and action around the issue of global poverty,” said Richard Lumley, campus minister. “In line with Catholic social teaching, the hope is these events will help students grow in solidarity with those who are underprivileged and marginalized.”

Activities begin on Wednesday, October 10, when Social Justice Advocacy will sponsor a TOMS shoes “Style Your Sole” event at 7 p.m. in McPhail’s in the Slavin Center.

About 25 students ordered plain white shoes from TOMS, a California-based company, to decorate at the event, said student coordinator Meagan Sullivan ’14 (Plainville, Mass.).

“TOMS started with a man going down to Latin America and seeing that there were young children who couldn’t even afford shoes,” said Sullivan. “Because of this, they would get injured, cut up, and get infections. Some wouldn’t even be allowed admittance into school without shoes.”

Under the TOMS model, called “One for One,” for every pair of shoes purchased, a pair is donated to a child in need.

Sullivan said Social Justice Advocacy hopes to have live music and screen part of the TOMS documentary at the event. Students who did not buy shoes can decorate a paper pair to make a mural for Poverty Awareness Week.   

The S.T.O.P. Hunger group will sponsor an Oxfam Hunger Banquet on Thursday, October 11, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in Slavin Center ’64 Hall. All are welcome to attend.

“The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is a unique way to demonstrate poverty awareness to students,” said student coordinator Nicole Romano ’13 (Chepachet, R.I.).

Each student is assigned an economic class by luck of the draw. Fifteen percent will belong to the highest class and receive a full pasta dinner. Thirty-five percent will be middle class and will eat a dinner of rice and beans. Fifty percent will be the lowest class and will get only a bowl of rice.

Readers will provide statistics and personal accounts of world hunger, said Romano. Students also will speak about their experiences on service trips.  

A Catholic Relief Services Ambassador Training Program will take place on Saturday, October 13, at 10 a.m. in the Campus Ministry Center.

Mari Barboza, a program officer for Catholic Relief Services, will talk to students about the organization’s vision and its approach to international development. She also will discuss the issue of fair trade and how students can be effective advocates of social change. All students are welcome to attend and lunch will be served. 

Students participating in Habitat for Humanity trips during Alternative Spring Break next semester will participate in a Solidarity Supper on Tuesday, October 16, at 6 p.m. in the Campus Ministry Center.

Staff from the Providence affiliate of Habitat will talk about the organization and the need for affordable housing. Lumley said about 250 students have applied for the Spring Break trips. Joseph Slattery ’13 (Mount Airy, Md.) is the student coordinator.


— Vicki-Ann Downing
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