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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

New student organization focuses on poverty in MQT

Marquette Ending Hunger, a new student organization on campus, is working with the community and students to create a new food bank in Marquette to help address poverty within the community.

Lauren Larsen, junior speech, language and hearing sciences major and president of Marquette Ending Hunger founded the organization at the beginning of the semester.

“I started the group this fall, and it’s been completely taking off the ground; it’s really exciting,” Larsen said. “The point of the group is to bring awareness of the poverty level in the situation of rule poverty in the city of Marquette, the Upper Peninsula and Michigan as a whole.”

“The poverty level in Marquette is 14.8 percent,” Larsen said.  “So 14.8 percent of people in Marquette struggle with where their next meal is coming from and they can’t make ends meet due to the cost of living here due to their annual income.”

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According to Larsen, there are already a few organizations that deal with hunger and homelessness in the Marquette community but not as many as there should be. Marquette Ending Hunger hopes to bring further awareness and help support the organizations already established in the city of Marquette.

“It’s going to take a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of dedication and passion but the hopes are that we can someday have this foodbank that we would be able to distribute to existing organizations such as St. Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army, Room at the Inn,” Larsen said.

The organization has held several meetings this semester with large turn outs according to Cassie Kobler, resident director of Van Antwerp and advisor of Marquette Ends Hunger.

“Our first meeting there were 50 people in attendance which was incredible,” Kobler said. “Although it doesn’t seem like a lot of people, it really was.The thing was that every single person there was very passionate and it made it really fun.”

Larsen said two events are already in the works for the organization during the month of October.

“The first thing we are working on is a community outreach day,” Larsen said. “During the first couple weeks of October we’ll be going out to the local businesses and the community members of Marquette. Introducing ourselves, passing out flyers and business cards and telling them about the poverty level of Marquette and how serious of an issue it is.”

The organization will also be holding a bake sale in mid-October in the lower lever of the LRC to raise money for operational costs. But Larsen said it’s also going to be a huge awareness builder to get more people involved in the campus community.

“The biggest thing we want others to take away from this is to get students talking,” Larsen said. “Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertizing. There’s nothing more powerful than someone walking up to you and saying, ‘Hey did you know that there are 31 homeless children in the city of Marquette?’ It makes a huge impact on you.”

Marquette Ending Hunger’s first monetary donation was given by the students of Van Antwerp Hall after winning the Change That Make Cents event during homecoming week.

“They donated $762 to Marquette Ending Hunger,” Larsen said.  “A huge thanks goes out to Van Antwerp for that. Before then we were at zero dollars, we had nothing and now we have somewhere to start.”

Kobler said there has already been a large outreach from the student community for the organization before the homecoming event began.

“We have a few residents as members of the organization,” Kobler said. “As the adviser it was something that I thought of as planting a seed ‘maybe this might be a cool organization for our hall.’”

Discussions for an organization for the fundraiser was brought up during Van Antwerp Hall government meetings and there was surprising response to the support and interest by students said Kobler.

“We thought every hall was going to pick a different organization but what’s really cool is three of the residence halls picked Marquette Ending Hunger. It’s kind of a grassroots student organization.”

The residence hall also held an inner hall competition during the week alongside Change That Makes Cents to help raise more funds and get more participation.

“The big mission right now is trying to gain some financial traction with the organization,” said Kobler. “Then we can reach more in regards to advertising and use the funds to get to our end goal.

“It’s a very long term plan in making sure that we start now, so if we can fund now, we will be able to in the next few years make a dent in what we want to be doing.”

For more information on Marquette Ending Hunger join their Facebook page or follow them on twitter at @MQTEnding Hunger. Meetings are held 7 p.m. every other Thursday at the University Center. Rooms are subject to change due to availability.

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