Marquette Ending Hunger fasts to fight famine

Hallie Sutton

Marquette Ending Hunger held their second annual NMU Fights Famine event to raise awareness for hunger and poverty with an emphasis on how prevalent these issues are in the Marquette area.

NMU Fights Famine is a 24-hour fast that started at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 and lasted until the same time on Saturday,
Nov. 14.

While the fast was occurring, participants could attend a kickoff that included a presentation about fasting, a documentary on living in poverty, a non-perishable food collecting event and a closing ceremony with panelists from the community that ended with dinner to break the fast.

While the number is down from previous years, one in seven people still go hungry, said Rory Conn, a sophomore biochemistry major and president of the organization. This event is to help those people, as well as raise awareness of them.

“[This event] means so much,” Conn said. “This is the first time for people to realize that some people go through this every day.”

The presentation at the kickoff instructed participants on how to fast safely, such as drinking lots of water and keeping activity levels low, and it also advised students to listen to their body and break their fast if they felt they needed to. Participants were still included in the event if they couldn’t fast for the full 24-hour period.

The purpose of the fast was to get a glimpse at what it would be like to go hungry, and monetary donations were collected by participants before and during
the fast.

The money, as well as the cans of non-perishable food collected, were donated to the TV6 Canathon, which runs through Dec. 2 and redistributes donations across the U.P.

This year the event focused more on the fasting and the personal connections than the previous year, Jennie Baker, a junior secondary education English and social studies major said. Baker is also treasurer of the organization. The event included participants journaling their experiences
and many opportunities
for discussion.

“I think a lot of it is about self-awareness and making a big issue more personal to people,” Baker said, “It’s easy to say so many of the people in the world are
hungry, but it’s so easy to
hide their suffering.”

The closing ceremony included panelists from the community that answered participant questions on how they got involved with ending hunger and how students could continue to help.

Joy Bender-Hadley was one of the panelists and runs a yearly Empty Bowls event in Marquette, in which bowls are created or donated, and a meal is served so the proceeds can be donated.

Scott Zerbel and Dave Bonsall were also panelists. Zerbel runs the TV6 Canathon, while Dave Bonsall is part of one of the several churches who run Room at the Inn, a homeless shelter and warming center in Marquette.

“There is so much need in this community that once you see that, it’s hard to ignore it,” ASNMU President Lindsey Lieck, another panelist and the head of Cat Packs, said. Cat Packs sees that children from North Star Academy have food for
the weekend.

It was the second year participating in the fast for
Anna Cameron, a sophomore
biochemistry major.

“It’s hard. You don’t realize how much you eat throughout the day,” Cameron said. “It gives you a glimpse on how people have to feel every day.”