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Help feed your community

College students continually form committees that try to solve problems across the country and the world, but few people take time to look at the issues occurring right around the corner. Students need to take time to focus on problems that affect the area in which they live, and hunger is one with which they can easily help.

In Hillsborough County, there are more than 50,000 “hungry” people, meaning their income places them at poverty level or below, according to the Hillsborough Homeless Coalition 2001 Homeless Census.

However, this epidemic continues to be ignored by the surrounding community. Last week, Volunteer USF and other organizations held a hunger banquet that showed all in attendance what it feels like to be hungry while others are eating. Some in attendance were served a three-course meal, while the majority of people were given rice to eat. Still, many people don’t realize the vastness of the hunger problem in the Tampa Bay area. Instead, they think that it only affects third-world countries in Africa and the Middle East. This is not the case, and USF’s student population needs to step in and work towards improving the problem.

It’s not difficult to help feed these hungry ones. A few dollars or canned goods can go a long way when someone is starving. Instead of spending money on end-of-the-year parties, clubs and organizations can donate to a homeless shelter and help feed those who don’t have food during the holidays.

Metropolitan Ministries, a Tampa organization that strives to provide services to the area’s homeless and hungry, said a donation of only $33 will give a food basket and turkey to one of the 9,400 families they expect to help this holiday season. Therefore, reducing the hunger problem will help the community because the recipients of the donations will have the opportunity to become productive citizens in the future.

There are big problems that can be solved locally, and students shouldn’t concentrate on fixing global problems until the ones in the area are alleviated.