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Groupsponsors annual Hunger Awareness Week

Remember the "Activity Profile" kicker

By Judy Kim

This week, the Hunger Action Group at MIT is sponsoring the ninth annual Hunger Awareness Week, the purpose of which is to "raise awareness of both the local and global problems of hunger," said the group's president, Mursaleena Islam '92.

The week's events include a lunchtime film series, two panel discussions, a Reality Dinner and a Shop and Share program in conjunction with LaVerde's Market. Islam said the films and discussions focus on worldwide hunger as well as hunger in the United States. By emphasizing all aspects of hunger, Islam said she hopes her group can raise people's awareness of the problem.

The purpose of the Reality Dinner, also known as the Hunger Banquet, is to realistically depict the inequalities of food distribution worldwide. At a free lunch, 10 percent of the participants will be served a full meal, 30 percent will receive rice and beans and 60 percent will get only rice. In addition, Professor Melvin H. King of the Urban Studies and Planning department will lead a discussion describing the actions necessary to alleviate global and local hunger.

LaVerde's Market helps

with fundraising efforts

LaVerde's Market will distribute coupons as part of the group's Shop and Share program. For each coupon redeemed on Thursday, Friday or Saturday this week, LaVerde's will donate five percent of the purchase price to the Hunger Action Group. The money collected will be used to fund the development of an irrigation project in Zimbabwe.

The Hunger Action Group is very active with Oxfam, an international non-profit organization that funds self-help programs on a global scale. But Islam said that Hunger Action Week is not merely a fund-raising program for Oxfam. "Hunger Awareness Week is primarily for MIT students" in order to educate them about the problems of hunger, she said.

Donations collected by the Hunger Action Group will "go to specific projects through Oxfam." This year, Oxfam-sponsored projects involve women and hunger, including projects to assist women, such as health care and job training.

Islam said the Hunger Action Group raised $1600 during last year's Hunger Awareness Week, and $1400 the year before that. She said she hopes to raise more than $1600 this year, adding that this is a very reasonable goal considering MIT's large size. "If each undergraduate student donated one dollar, the difference would be incredible."

Hunger Action Group is

busy throughout the year

Later in the year, the Hunger Action Group will also sponsor the Fast For a World Harvest. Initiated by Oxfam, this event focuses on fasting for any part of the day and then donating the money that would have been spent on food to Oxfam. Islam emphasized that the fast does not involve food exclusively, but that money saved from not purchasing items such as cigarettes could be donated to the cause.

Other current Hunger Action Group projects include educational meetings, which involve films and guest speakers, volunteer work at nearby shelters, and the Food Salvage Program, which was started last term. Hunger Action Group members collect food normally discarded from Lobdell Court and the MIT Faculty Club several times a week and distributes it to a handful of shelters in Cambridge.

"The Food Salvage program is doing very well," said Islam, adding that shelters are "very happy with the program."