Inspired by Obama’s message, OSU students tour nation to tackle hunger


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Inspired by President Obama’s campaign pledge to eradicate childhood hunger by 2015, six Oregon State University students are traveling across the nation to experience first-hand how some nonprofits are successfully tackling the issue of domestic hunger.

Students from OSU’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) groups left Friday, June 18 for a 15-city Hunger in the Homeland Tour aimed at increasing awareness of childhood hunger in the United States. In each city, they will visit multiple organizations that are using innovative means to address hunger problems. Along the way, the students will be volunteering in soup kitchens and food banks. 

“The students wanted to take on a project that has big impact, and they were inspired by the president’s message on stamping out hunger,” said Don Neubaum, an associate professor in the College of Business at OSU. Don and Sandy Neubaum are traveling with the students on the four-week trip.

The students will not only be working at the organizations, but documenting their experiences, according to Neubaum.

“They will be interviewing the directors of these innovative programs, gathering resources on best practices,” he said. “They will also be videotaping, taking pictures, blogging, tweeting, and updating a Facebook page with notes on their progress, lessons learned and experiences.”

Andrea White, the president-elect of Students in Free Enterprise, said on Friday they volunteered at Martin de Porres House of Hospitality, a free restaurant in San Francisco that serves breakfast and lunch to those in need.

“They have an amazing garden with an outdoor seating area,” White said. “People don’t expect that in a soup kitchen. We cut fresh celery and squash to put them into the soup. The people we talked to told us the food and the experience of eating there refreshes and recharges them.”

Over the coming year, the students will share their findings through web sites and create curriculum to teach elementary and middle school children about the issues of hunger in America. SIFE has also pledged to collect 55,000 pounds of food over the next year to donate to the Benton County Food Bank.

In order to make the trip possible, the students raised money and solicited sponsors to help pay for the cost of the trips. In most cities, they are able to get hotels to donate rooms.

The students are blogging about their experiences here: http://hungerinthehomeland.blogspot.com/

And you follow them on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/osusife

The rest of their tour includes (more cities to be added later):

Monday, June 22

Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, Irvine, Calif.

Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Tuesday, June 23

Community Food Bank of Tucson, Tucson, Ariz.

Thursday, June 25

Tarrant Area Food Bank, Fort Worth, Texas.

Soup Mobile, Dallas.

Friday, June 26

Heifer International, Little Rock, Ark.

Monday, June 29

Project Preserve, Nashville, Tenn.

Tuesday, June 30

MANNA FoodBank, Asheville, N.C.

Thursday, July 2

Samaritan Ministries, Winston-Salem, N.C., www.samaritanforsyth.org/

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest N.C., Winston-Salem, N.C.

Monday, July 6

God’s Pantry, Lexington, Ky.

Wednesday, July 8

Livefeed, St. Louis, Mo.

Thursday, July 9

Harvesters – The Community Food Network, Kansas City, Mo.

Friday, July 10

Operation Frontline, Denver

Gathering Place, Denver

Monday, July 13

The Idaho Foodbank, Boise, Idaho

Boise Rescue Mission, Boise

Boise Fire Department, Boise