Food4Thought, an interactive event to help raise awareness and volunteerism for the Hunger & Health Coalition of Boone, will take place Nov. 10 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in Whitewater Cafe.
During Food4Thought, participants can walk through four stations in order to learn more about the Hunger & Health Coalition. When all stations have been completed, the student’s name is entered in a prize drawing.
The stations’ activities are based on what the Hunger & Health Coalition offers to clients and what students can do to help, said Amanda Wallace, a senior public relations major involved with Food4Thought.
The first two stations are about the food and health aspects of the Hunger & Health Coalition, the third lets students know what can be donated to the organization and the fourth is a volunteer sign-up table, where students can learn how to get involved with Hunger & Health.
The acapella group Enharmonix will be performing at Food4Thought, and participants will receive free food and be entered into a raffle after completing the stations.
“I hope that people will learn about all of the opportunities for volunteering that the Hunger & Health Coalition has,” said Taylor Bowers, a senior public relations major involved with the event. “They are always in need of extra help and donations, but are sometimes forgotten about by the college demographic.”
The event is hosted by a public relations campaigns class taught by Heather Preston, a professor in the department of communication at App. The class teamed up with the Hunger & Health Coalition this semester, and acts as a mock PR agency to come up with a communication plan for the organization.
“Our contact at Hunger & Health wanted us to increase awareness about the organization and increase student involvement, so he wanted us to target App State students,” said Aki Regan, a senior public relations major in the class. “So we’re holding this event to teach people about the Hunger & Health Coalition and get them more interested in volunteering.”
The Hunger & Health Coalition is a non-profit organization that assists community members who live in poverty or who have food and health insecurity. The organization has several programs to help those in need receive food and medicine, and relies on partnerships with food pantries and pharmaceutical companies as well as donations from businesses and individuals.
Between 2000 and 2013, 29.5 percent of Watauga County lived in poverty, Wallace said, and more than 19 percent of the county lives in food insecure households. In 2015, one in every three people who received food from Hunger & Health’s food pantry was under the age of 18.
The overall goal of Food4Thought, Wallace said, is to build a stronger connection between the Hunger & Health Coalition and Appalachian State and to inspire students to get involved.
“We’re trying to do this in a fun way; hopefully while people are at the event they’ll have fun while learning about Hunger & Health,” Regan said. “And if it’s successful, it’ll show that students can raise awareness and really make a difference.”
Story by: Adrienne Fouts, Senior A&E Reporter