​ GVSU organization strives to fight hunger in West Michigan

GVL /  Courtesy President of H&H, Brittany Bajo
GVSU Hunger and Homelessness Group

GVL / Courtesy President of H&H, Brittany Bajo GVSU Hunger and Homelessness Group

Natalie Lussier

Providing necessary resources to the homeless in Grand Rapids and spreading awareness are two goals of the Grand Valley State University student-run Hunger and Homelessness organization.

Hunger and Homelessness has been helping those in need since 1989, volunteering at local shelters and working at other organizations with similar goals that also battle hunger and homelessness.

Taylor Dewey, Hunger and Homelessness event coordinator, said the organization volunteers nearly every weekend with another organization such as Kids’ Food Basket, Salvation Army, YWCA, Family Promise and more.

“The Hunger and Homeless organization works specifically with nonprofit organizations that share our mission by providing services to assist the hungry and homeless within our community,” Dewey said. “Several of the nonprofit agencies we have developed a close relationship with because we have been working with them for many years. However, each semester we also partner with agencies that we have not previously volunteered with. This works well because these agencies are often smaller scale operations that are in greater need of volunteers.”

Hunger and Homelessness helps people every week, providing the volunteers with a sense of gratification of their own along with changed perspectives.

Brittany Bajo, president of Hunger and Homelessness, said the best part is seeing the results of their work.

“Sitting down with people you are helping and seeing the joy or appreciation they have for our group is extremely rewarding,” Bajo said. “We try to engulf ourselves in full into the organizations we volunteer with; this involves removing ourselves from our comfort zones and empathizing with the people at the locations. By doing so, we open our minds and eyes to new perspectives, knowledge and maybe emotions we may not have experienced before.”

Upcoming events include the organization volunteering on Jan. 17 at In the Image, a free store that provides clothing and household items to families in crisis. The following weekend, on Jan. 21, they will volunteer at the Mel Trotter warehouse, which provides donated products and basic living essentials to its shelter in the Grand Rapids area.

Hunger and Homelessness meets bimonthly starting Jan. 14 in Room 2266 at Kirkhof at 9 p.m. To sign up for the organization, or volunteer for a weekend, visit their page on OrgSync.