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Students fight hunger with humor

By Kylee Dawson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 15, 2004
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Students from the Hillel Foundation and campus comedy groups are fighting hunger in a variety of ways for National Hunger Awareness Week, which starts today.

According to the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness Web site, 841 million people suffer from hunger, malnutrition and famine across the world, and a series of events, organized and arranged by UA students, will be held this week to address the problem.

Project STAR, Lutheran Campus Ministry and Alpha Phi Omega, the largest community service club at UA, are sponsoring the weeklong events with the Hillel Foundation.

"(Hunger Awareness Week) is the week before Thanksgiving, and it's to raise awareness about the issues of poverty and hunger," said Miriam Gurevich, co-chair of Project STAR.

Project STAR, which stands for Students Taking an Active Role, is a Hillel organization that fundraises for various nonprofit organizations, such as Locks of Love and Ronald McDonald House.

Go Online

For more information on hunger in the U.S.

"It doesn't really take much, but really every student on this campus has the potential to make a huge impact," said Gurevich, a molecular & cellular biology sophomore.

New Kevin, a student improvisational comedy troupe, is using humor to help raise awareness of worldwide hunger while collecting food Friday.

"The campus seems like this great untapped resource for doing real good in the community, and we'd just like to get people thinking about the kinds of charities that there are," said Joe Marotta, a physics and philosophy doctoral student and member of New Kevin.


Gurevich is asking students to come to the UA Mall from noon to 3 p.m. today to help peel and grate potatoes and make batter to make latkes.

Latkes, or potato pancakes, are a traditional Jewish food made from potatoes, eggs, oil and seasoning.

"We hope to make it a large effort," Gurevich wrote in an e-mail. "It is therefore metaphorical in that we want to promote a large interest from all types of people to come out and help peel and grate potatoes."

Hillel students will cook the latkes in the oven of the Hillel Foundation's Oy Vey Café, 1245 E. Second St., later today, then donate them to the Tucson Community Bank.


Tomorrow, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., students at the Hillel Foundation will also be making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to be donated to the Tucson Community Food Bank during the PB and Jam/Thanksgiving Cards Event.

"Plus students will be drawing/decorating Thanksgiving cards for Handmaker, the Jewish Nursing Home here in Tucson," Gurevich wrote in an e-mail.


With performances by local bands The Broken Half and Killer Phills, the nonprofit Hunger Benefit Jam 2004, sponsored by the Hillel Foundation, will be at Belushe's, 1118 E. Sixth St., Thursday from 9 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $5 at the door.

"This concert is a great and fun way to help people," Gurevich said.

The money from ticket sales will go to Tucson Community Food Bank and Mazon, a Jewish organization aimed at fighting hunger.


On Friday evening, Hillel will hold a Hunger Awareness-themed Shabbat, which will start with candle lighting and Reform, Conservative and Orthodox services, Gurevich said.

Following services will be a dinner at 5:30 p.m., tickets are $5 for students and $8 all others. Students must sign up by Wednesday if they want to attend the dinner.

After the dinner, Tamara McElwee, a representative from the Salvation Army, will speak about hunger issues and how they affect the Tucson community.

New Kevin's comedy festival, "Ha Ha Food 2," takes place in the Social Sciences building, Room 100 at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The admission to the festival will be a can of food or a nonperishable food item, donated to the Tucson Community Food Bank.

New Kevin is hosting "Ha Ha Food 2" with other campus comedy groups including The Charles Darwin Experience and Comedy Corner, semi-professional local groups The Secret Show and Not Burned Out, Just Unscrewed.

Apollo 12, a professional Phoenix group, will also join them.

"We figured we could entice people into donating food, and possibly money, if we provide them with a comedy show at the same time," Marotta said.

Marotta said last year's festival helped collect between 50 and 60 pounds of food.

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