The Centre County Commissioners unanimously voted on Tuesday to declare Saturday-Nov. 20 Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
The initiative was brought to the board by Joanne Tosti-Vasey, vice president of Nitttany NOW, the local chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Tosti-Vasey said there are problems with homelessness and food insecurities nationally and locally, which means people do get food, but it is not enough to sustain them or the food is not nutritionally sufficient.
“What this week does is highlight the issues and tries to point out where the services are in each different community so that people who are food insecure, housing insecure or are homeless know where they can go to get assistance,” Tosti-Vasey said.
Programs in the county include various food banks, Meals on Wheels, Out of the Cold, Housing Transitions, Women’s Resource Center and the Youth Service Bureau.
In addition to housing and food issues in the county, Tosti-Vasey said NOW also strives to maintain the health, employment and educational opportunities for everyone. The organization hopes that the week can raise awareness and educate the public about the safety issues of women and their families who need to flee from violence in their home.
“It’s such an important issue to raise all throughout the year, but specifically for this week it’s important to highlight those organizations,” Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe said. “We are very much poised to help individuals who are without shelters or without food and to assist them.”