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Before Thanksgiving: Philly’s Week Of Service

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Conditions of poverty in America are still staggeringly high. A recent study by USA Today estimated that approximately 1.6 million people nationwide make use of transitional housing or emergency shelters. Nearly 49 million struggle to get enough to eat.

This month, national activists and charitable organizations are coming together to do something about it. The National Coalition for the Homeless and National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness have organized National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which will run from the 15th to the 23rd of November.

A Week of Education

This week will consist of all manner of events taking place nationwide, which may be hosted by any conscientious organizations or individuals that wish to participate.

The goal of these events is to spread the word on the problems of hunger and homelessness in their communities, and help to build the nation’s insights on what must be done to feed and shelter its people.

A complete list of the events by state can be found on the NCH website.

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What Local Activists are Doing

In Philadelphia, Bethesda Project, the local anti-homelessness NGO celebrating its 35th year of helping Philadelphians get back on their feet, is bringing H&H Week to our hometown.

On Monday, Nov. 17 from 6 to 8 pm, Bethesda is hosting Sweet & Savory: Battle Against Hunger at International House Philadelphia in University City. Local culinary arts students will compete for the best appetizers and desserts, served with a free beer or wine.

The event will also include a photo gallery and screening of local photographer and filmmaker Chris Brown's short subject documentary, "Perseverance with Dignity."

Excerpts Mr. Brown's "Perseverance with Dignity" series will also be exhibited at Whole Foods on 929 South Street, an H&H Week partner organization. This location, along with Whole Foods Callowhill, will be hosting the Nickels for Nonprofits and Need 4 More programs throughout the month of November to help push forward Bethesda Project's mission.

Storied Streets

The week will be ushered in by a free screening of Thomas A. Morgan and Jack Henry Robbins’s poignant documentary film, “Storied Streets.”

The film takes a cross-country trip through 13 American cities, starting in New York and ending in Los Angeles. In each city, the filmmakers examine the lives of the local population that lives without permanent shelter.

According to Morgan, “The film will shatter the stereotypes most of us have about the homeless population.”

Co-hosted by Reframed Pictures, screenings of “Storied Streets” will take place at cities throughout the country on Sunday, Nov. 16th at 7:30 PM EST. The film will be followed by a live-stream Q&A with co-producers Susan Sarandon and Thomas Morgan at 8:30 PM EST.

Visit the Coalition website to find a nearby screening location.

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How to Get Involved

Community members and organizations everywhere are encouraged to host Awareness Week events, bringing the fight against poverty to their area.

Help in organizing locally can be found  online, as well as on the downloadable Organizing Manual. Participants can also call 209-647-1000, access code 376071 to directly consult the Coalition’s experts on how to get their own events off the ground.

The basic necessities of life, like a place to rest your head and a full stomach, are the rights of every human being. With the events of Nov. 15 to 23, ordinary citizens around the country will join together to advance America's struggle for these natural rights. Visit nationalhomeless.org to register an event.

By Bessam Idani

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