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A Year of Advocacy: LaGuardia Community College and CARE

CARE is proud to partner with LaGuardia Community College to provide a year of learning and advocacy engagement for LCC students, faculty, and staff from September 2022 to June 2023.

The program teaches students to advocate with their members of Congress on the issue of food insecurity with a focus on UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger. CARE will provide students with opportunities to immerse themselves in this issue, learn advocacy fundamentals, hear directly from subject matter experts, and incorporate CARE research and projects into classroom learning.

Students will also partner with other organizations to develop projects that support local and global communities through the LaGuardia Humanitarian Initiative (LHI), keeping their focus on SDG 2. Students will volunteer, fundraise, and pursue internships furthering the mission of LaGuardia and the vision of the partnering organization(s).

As part of the program, CARE hosted a meeting in November 9, 2022 about global hunger with 102 students and Nathaniel Hezekiah, Deputy Chief of Staff to Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Ben Leibowitz, Foreign Affairs, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mitchell Lee, AG LC for Sen, Gillibrand and Brandon Ramsey, Foreign Affairs for Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE). A capstone of the partnership, the purpose of the meeting was to:

  • Learn about the foreign affairs budget
  • Discuss the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) and the Senate Foreign Operations Budget (SFOB)
  • Discuss local and global food insecurity

The students discussed domestic food issues as well as CARE priorities. There was demonstrated support for the passage of GFSA in the Senate by the end of the year.

Student Reflections

Over the course of the program, several student participants have shared their experiences with CARE. Read about them here and join us on this journey by checking back for more updates.

Jesus Rojas: Zero Hunger

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2 talks about solving the issue of world hunger and the people in charge of this hope to find a solution by 2030. They have a specific agenda of what to do and that gives me hope of collaboratively addressing this global problem. An action that I want to consider is to bring as many people together around the world to advocate for the end of global hunger so that we could accomplish this goal faster. In my opinion, the most effective form of marketing is through social media since almost everyone uses their phone for their daily tasks. I intend to incorporate my research to create digital tools to help advocate for this issue. If the message/video goes viral, there is a very high chance that I will gain support at an exponential rate. Flyers can also help if they are put in populated areas like train stations or at other special events. Furthermore, it will raise awareness and the news will pick up on it and it will gain even more attention.

I greatly benefited from my professor’s discussions, classroom conversations, and LaGuardia Humanitarian Initiative; I applied my knowledge of the subject by integrating my learning from these spaces. In the classroom I was inspired by different perspectives of my classmates that helped me to implement my vision of educating my community so that I can impact more people. I consider myself a global messenger because I feel there would be too much pressure to identify as a global citizen.

The problem of global hunger matters deeply to me and I hope that by 2030, everyone will have something healthy to eat. In becoming a global citizen, I plan to interact with new people and help those who are experiencing food insecurity. I also know this would mean getting out of my comfort zone. I feel inspired by good deeds and want to help those who need support and advice. That is why I designed a flyer and participated in digital marketing to advocate for LHI/food security so that I could in my own way be a part of the solution.

Lady Chekla Andrada: A Shared Responsibility

One of the numerous strategies for eradicating hunger and food insecurity is to increase public awareness of the problem. Some people are unaware of the effects that food insecurity has on disadvantaged, low-income, and homeless individuals. LHI’s partnership with CARE helped to raise awareness by sharing it to our friends and family, sending out flyers, participating in social media promotions to spread the knowledge on the food system and the root causes of food insecurity and how to take action to combat it. Through LHI I had the opportunity to volunteer at LaGuardia CARES and one of the tasks that I had to do was to give out non-perishable foods at the Food Pantry. I also had to restock the items in the pantry and packed bags to be given out to students the next day. LaGuardia CARES is a great help to students that have a difficult time putting food on their table and other numerous concerns. I argue that food insecurity is an issue that everyone should be aware of. The lack of accessible, sustainable and nutritious food can have an adverse effect on an individual experiencing poverty, gender discrimination, and lack of awareness. The solution of this problem is the shared responsibility within all of us. Raising awareness, volunteering on local and national levels, giving donations, and joining social media promotions are among the many ways we can combat the issue. Although we have our own responsibility to offer, the local and national government, private sectors, neighborhoods and even schools are all making significant contributions in the fight against hunger and food insecurity, yet it is abundantly evident that even more work must be done in this arena.

Thessa Blache: Taking a Stand

Women and girls are more affected by food insecurity in comparison to men. According to the CARE Policy Report of August 2020 entitled, “Left Out and Left Behind,” “women and girls make up 60% of the population facing chronic hunger, and moderate and severe food insecurity are higher among females than males.” This means that food insecurity is 10% greater in women than men. With the everyday struggles that women already face, hunger should never have to be one of them. Sadly hunger and food insecurity also affects the academic success of students in our CUNY community. While choosing between academic career and food, these students struggle to focus in classes when dealing with the painful sensation of hunger. Ultimately this then leads to poor academics and failing grades. Through LaGuardia Humanitarian Initiative I received valuable information on how individuals can help take a stand by supporting their fellow peers and those worldwide. LHI gave me insight on programs such as food pantry and single stop which both help provide food and other resources to those in need. I chose to take a stand against hunger and food insecurity by fundraising for my fellow LaGuardia students in need. I will continue to take part in volunteering and fundraising for those facing food insecurity, both locally and globally. Food insecurity affects us all as it could be any one of us who could be in that position. Everyone on this green earth deserves the right to easily accessible, available, and affordable food despite any circumstances.

Anthony Bono: Making a Difference

The LaGuardia Humanitarian Initiative (LHI) greatly strengthened my awareness on food insecurity at CUNY. This was all completely new to me because I wasn’t aware of how many CUNY students were food insecure. After attending LHI sessions with representatives from CARE, International and LaGuardia CARES, I chose to fundraise for my CUNY students. I needed to raise awareness to let my peers know that food insecurity is a serious issue at CUNY schools and that my very own school is working to make a difference. I used my Instagram page and posted a screenshot of the LHI page from the school website. My actions helped me gain awareness because after posting on social media, I took it upon myself to find out what else is being done to address food justice. I am proud to be a part of making a change for food insecure students.