Catholic Colleges and Universities Raise Awareness During Hunger and Homelessness Week

Catholic colleges and universities across the nation observed National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 15-21, 2016. The week, began by Villanova University in 1975, has since spread to over 700 campuses and communities, becoming the most widely organized hunger and homelessness event of its type nationwide.  Here are some examples from Catholic colleges:

Villanova University organized a food drive, a solidarity sleepout, and interfaith vigils on the issue of hunger and homelessness.

At Assumption College, Social Justice Ambassadors assembled “Helping Hands” bags to distribute to individuals on the street, encouraged students in the dining hall to eat what a typical meal would be at a soup kitchen, and also held a solidarity sleepout.

Saint John’s University campus ministry sponsored many events including a poverty simulation, a benefit concert, and a service opportunity as part of the week.

The Catholic University of America hosted a number of events such as a hunger banquet, a way of the cross prayer service focused on migration, and a speaker event with local advocate for those who are homeless.

These Catholic colleges and universities, and many others, are reflecting on the Catholic Social Teaching, the option for the poor and vulnerable, creatively tackling direct engagement and awareness in the issues of hunger and homelessness.

Did your campus observe Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week? Share it with us! Email Lexie Bradley.



Catholic Relief Services Releases Lenten Resources

As the season of Lent approaches, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) invites all to participate – including and especially college students – in the annual CRS Rice Bowl. CRS has developed multiple additional resources tailored to colleges and universities. Among their resources, CRS includes a list of things you can do to participate in the Rice Bowl in various ways:

  1. Share your faith: Community Reflections in English and in Spanish on climate change and Laudato Si’ are available to all.
  2. Eat simply: All are encouraged to not only go meatless on Fridays but to continue to eat simply throughout Lent.Delicious meatless recipes available here!
  3. Keep Lent in your pocket: The CRS Rice Bowl app is available for iPhone and Android devices! This is an easy way to keep track of the daily reflections and your Lenten fast.
  4. Distribute CRS Rice Bowls: Giving to the best of our abilities is still a part of Lent! Order your Rice Bowl kit for FREE here.
  5. Volunteer with a local faith community: We are also called to give of our time and talents. Check out CRS school and parish resources!

Does your college or university have other Lenten resources? Let us know! 


Grants Available to Start a Campus Kitchen

In Fall 2015, ACCU highlighted several member colleges that participate in the Campus Kitchens Project to fight hunger and decrease food waste.  Campus Kitchens Project is offering startup grants to additional institutions this year and have shared the following message with ACCU:

If hunger and food waste are issues in your community and you want to make an impact on both the community need and the waste on campus, consider starting a Campus Kitchen chapter at your school. Campus Kitchen students rescue food that would have gone to waste from their on-campus dining hall cafeterias and use that food to prepare and serve balanced nutritious meals to food insecure residents in their communities.

The Campus Kitchens Project is offering $5,000 startup grants to schools that are interested in working with older adult (50+) populations in their community. To begin the application process, visit our grants page or reach out directly to Matt Schnarr at

The deadline to qualify is February 5th. Please visit our grant info page to learn more about this grant competition timeline and guidelines. Schools that qualify will then submit a short video explaining the need in their community and how a Campus Kitchen will meet that need. Selected finalists will compete in a week long voting competition, where at the end of the week, the 3 school’s videos with the highest number of votes will each receive $5,000 to plan and launch their Campus Kitchen!

Service Opportunity in Philadelphia for WMOF

‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.’ The words of Our Lord call to us today, telling us not to turn away, indifferent, when we know our neighbor is hungry.” —Pope Francis

If you need even more incentive to make your way into Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families (WMOF), this is it! If you are attending or thinking about attending, you can help answer Pope Francis’ call to end global hunger by volunteering with CRS Helping Hands—the only service event at the WMOF.

The group will package 200,000 meals that to send to Burkina Faso in West Africa, along with sending funds to centers throughout Burkina Faso that support long-term development projects.  Participants of all ages are welcome.

Helping Hands will have 7 shifts available from September 23 to 25 at the Philadelphia Convention Center. You can register for the free event here.


Commencement Speakers focus on Social Justice

As ACCU member colleges and universities prepare for graduation, commencement speakers prepare inspiring addresses. This year, Catholic colleges and universities have invited a diverse range of commencement speakers, from craft brewers to the first lady of the Republic of Ghana. Below you’ll find a list of colleges and universities that invited speakers engaged in social justice issues.

Cabrini College: The Rev. Daniel Groody, immigration advocate and professor at the University of Notre Dame

College of the Holy Cross: Bryan A. Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative,  nonprofit organization providing legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners denied fair and just treatment in the legal system

Emmanuel College and Seton Hall University: Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and pro-life advocate

Gonzaga University and University of San Diego: The Rev. Greg Boyle, Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries, which provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women

Marquette University: Sister Margaret O’Neill, founder of El Centro Arte Para la Paz, which develops and promotes a culture of peace through the arts, creativity, imagination and cultural exchange

Misericordia University: Sister Eileen M. Campbell, former head of the Mercy Volunteer Corps, which invites women and men to service with people who are economically poor or marginalized

Rosemont College of the Holy Child Jesus: Sister Ann M. Durst, founder of Casa Cornelia Law Center, a public interest law firm providing quality pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations

Saint Mary’s College: Sister Rosemary Connelly, executive director of Misericordia Home in Chicago, which provides a home for  600 children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities

Saint Michael’s College: Bernard Lafayette, civil rights activist

Saint Vincent College: Carolyn Woo, president of Catholic Relief Services

Trocaire College: Myron Glick, founder of Jericho Road Community Health Center, a culturally sensitive medical home, especially for refugee and low-income community members

University of Saint Thomas: Mark Crea, president of Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit Christian organization committed to feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit

Walsh University: The Rev. Walter S. Moss, project director for the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, a partnership of law enforcement, social service agencies, and the community to reduce gun violence in the City of Youngstown, Ohio

Xavier University: Kevin Fleming, Liberia Peace Corps director

For a more comprehensive list of commencement speakers at Catholic colleges and universities, see what Crux has compiled.

Peace and Justice in ACCU’s Winter Newsletter

ACCU just released Update, its Winter 2014 newsletter! You can read it in its entirety here, but be sure to pay special attention to the sections devoted to peace and justice. These highlights include:

  • Labor: Cost of a Commodity or Commitment to a Covenant? (special feature on CST, mission, and human resources)
  • Walsh Lends Support to Solving Hunger
  • Reaching Refugees through Online Education
  • Rockhurst Symposium Examines the Power of the Francis Papacy
  • Holy Names University Goes Solar
  • Institutions Commemorate Anniversary of Jesuit Martyrs in El Salvador

To subscribe to Update, please email Paula Moore.

Action Steps Against Hunger

What are simple ways for college students to learn about world hunger and engage their campus community? See Catholics Confront Global Poverty’s four steps against hunger:

  1. Use this prayer before mealtime.
  2. Watch this video by Pope Francis on hunger.
  3. Take to Social Media to bring more attention to this issue! Feel free to retweet and repost these messages from CRS:
    • Twitter: A meal makes a big difference. It encourages school enrollment, improves attentiveness & nourishes a child. #WFD2014
    • Twitter: The @USDA funded CRS #FoodForEducation programs are meeting simple needs, but are making a huge difference: #WFD2014
    • Facebook: A meal makes a big difference. It encourages school enrollment, improves attentiveness and nourishes a child. The U.S. Department of Agriculture funded CRS Food for Education programs are meeting this simple need in 6 countries and are making a big impact:
  4. Raise Your Voice! Following Pope Francis’ call, we invite you to get ready to raise your voice on behalf of our brothers and sisters who struggle with hunger once Congress returns to DC following the mid-term elections. It’s likely that two pieces of legislation related to addressing hunger, Agriculture Appropriations and Feed the Future, will be taken up by Congress the week of November 10. Learn about these pieces legislation, and consider advocating for them.

Resource on the GMO Debate from Catholic Rural Life

CRL’s role in monitoring the use of GMOs in America features prominently in a recent article from US Catholic. CRL executive director Jim Ennis is noted as emphasizing the need to evaluate GMOs through a moral lens, while board member Ron Rosmann, an Iowa farmer, challenges some of the prevailing wisdom about GMOs’ benefits.

As for the Catholic Church, it has remained somewhere in between– recognizing the potential for GMOs to address world hunger, yet reluctant to give full endorsement to their use. CRL will continue to follow the use of GMOs here in America, always emphasizing an approach to agriculture that takes into account the moral dimensions of food production.

Read the article online here.