Student Awareness - Food Insecurity
Over the course of the year Marist Way and Campus Ministry at Notre Dame Preparatory and Marist Academy in Pontiac Michigan, created a series of video instruction courses implemented grades 9-12 focusing on advocacy, bias, empathy, and Christian stewardship. All content designed through a Marist Lens incorporates awareness and the values of humility, caring and inclusivity. In other words, a hands-on approach to what it means to think, judge, feel and act like Mary in all things. The final set of videos walks students through how to implement the steps of advocacy using the issue of food insecurity as an example. It concluded during last Lent with students engaged in a project centered around food insecurity within their community time (homerooms). The issue of food insecurity had already grown to serious proportions pre-pandemic. Now it's effects are widespread and extreme with non-profit organizations struggling to receive funds and resources to meet current needs.
Advisors and students can choose from a list of a variety of projects. One project, entitled Take the SNAP Challenge, students live on a total of $4.11 per day for meals. This figure was the SNAP rate in Michigan for families prior to the pandemic. The participants record what they eat and then calculate the cost to ensure they remain in budget and reflect throughout the process. Other projects include students focusing on reducing their personal food waste by conducting a food waste audit or committing to using up the food they have by trying out leftover food recipes. In another project students commit to a week of no food waste and ask family, friends and neighbors to sponsor them to raise money donations for a local charity feeding families. Some teams watch videos about reclaiming food, purchasing ugly food and finding out what others are doing to combat the issue. The Take Actions after watching include a variety of options such as writing to legislators, collecting food for a local college food pantry, creating information campaigns or awareness in our school community, writing prayers or simply making a personal Lenten commitment to reduce waste.
This transition to a new curriculum of Advocacy and Christian Stewardship is designed to equip students with lifelong skills of personal and leadership engagement living and serving in a global society. Involvement may be limited due to distancing, but our hearts are not. As a Marist school it is at our core to act, in the way of Mary, with one heart and one mind listening to and responding with care to our local community and beyond.
Editors Note: this article first appeared in Society of Mary - Marists in the United States: E-Bulletin March 12, 2021. Full Title: Students Create Awareness for Food Insecurity. The Author is Della Lawrence, of Campus Ministry. website: https://www.ndpma.org/