Administrative Executive Editor
The Hungry Owl fought back against the stigma behind food pantries by holding a non-profit concert on Friday, Feb. 8, in the Mabel Brown Room.
The Owls Against Hunger event was a public relations (PR) project originally thought up by Keene State College journalism students Kyle Heslin, John Budenas and Rachel Marquis. Assistant Professor in the journalism department Marianne Salcetti gave these students an assignment to come up with hypothetical PR projects for an organization of their choice. Budenas said, “We’ve been working with The Hungry Owl for our PR class since last semester… We got so into it that we continued it into this semester, and so we started to kind of think of a big event to kick off things, so we came up with the benefit drive.”
Heslin said the biggest problem facing The Hungry Owl was awareness and stigma; these were the focus of the event. “One of the biggest issues they were facing was getting their name and what they do known,” Heslin said.
KSC senior and one of the coordinators for The Hungry Owl Max Foisey agreed that the biggest issue is the stigma behind a food pantry service. “Nobody in college, especially the college student, wants to be the kid who needs help,” Foisey said. He added that, for him, this was the biggest reason for the Owls Against Hunger event. “That’s why we’ve turned it into a platform, as a sort of all-inclusive idea, and that’s what we try to do at The Hungry Owl,” Foisey said.
Foisey said part of The Hungry Owl’s mission is to demonstrate that this service is not to seperate those who need help and those who don’t. He said the pursuit of the organization is simply to protect the students of KSC from food insecurity, “I understand, having been a student who’s had food insecurity issues himself, what it’s like to be in that position and sort of having the opportunity and having that platform to work alongside other students who feel the same way and want to do the same thing.” Foisey said having that support from other students and organizations such as fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi paves the way for success in organizations such as The Hungry Owl.
Budenas is a member of Alpha Sigma Phi and said he involved his organization just to help the cause. “We personally believed in what they were doing. We wanted to emphasize that this is The Hungry Owl, and this is what they are doing, and we are simply there to help out and represent,” Budenas said. He also said that, to him, this was a project he enjoyed working on, as he headed up much of the organization of the event including recruiting the different bands to play that night.
Heslin said his personal ties to the event and to The Hungry Owl itself lies in the realization that hunger among college students is a real problem. Heslin explained, “Food insecurity is a real problem. It’s a serious matter that I’m glad they are addressing. The other important thing is that The Hungry Owl isn’t just for food-insecure students. If you want to cut down on your grocery [bill] you’re welcome to do that, they’ve got plenty of options.”
The Hungry Owl has vegan and vegetarian options, non-perishables, and canned goods.
They are open behind Randall Hall 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
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