In the battle against global hunger, it never hurts to have some young blood on your side… and the Action Center to End World Hunger, the educational and global engagement arm of Mercy Corps, is well aware of this fact.
Downtown Express reports that since opening offices in Lower Manhattan in 2008, the Center has forged strong partnerships with P.S. 89, the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Erwin High School, and Stuyvesant High School, holding educational workshops for the students and encouraging them to take a more active role in the ongoing quest to end crippling food shortages.
Third, fourth and fifth graders at P.S. 89 attend a weekly workshop at the Center, entitled “Hangout for Change,” in which Mercy Corps field workers and other guest speakers relate their own first-hand experiences, teaching the students about the causes and effects of food shortages on both the local and global stages.
The “Community Gardeners” program for Stuyvesant High School students is more hands-on: Every Friday afternoon, seven or eight teenage volunteers from the school practice composting and gardening in the Center’s two Battery Park City plots.
And, at the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Erwin High School, the Center conducts workshops as part of the school’s human rights classes.
The Center’s reach doesn’t stop with these three schools — not by a long shot. The Center also has overseen learning projects with three Brooklyn schools, formed semester-long partnerships with 65 other schools in the tri-state area, and is looking to develop partnerships with as many more schools as it can.
With a little luck and a lot of hard work, a good chunk of our young New Yorkers may soon understand why the war in Afghanistan, land rights in Guatemala and crappy (yes, that’s the technical term) government in Indonesia adversely affect food distribution and contribute to hunger epidemics. And, more importantly, hopefully these kids will want to do something about it.