March 4, 2008
08-045

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

SIFE Targets Low-income Areas for 'Stamp Out Hunger'

VALDOSTA - Members of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) at Valdosta State University spent last week educating children ages 5-13 living in low-income areas about the importance of good nutrition and providing valuable tips for surviving in today’s economy.

As part of Campbell’s Soup’s “Stamp Out Hunger Challenge,” SIFE members hosted educational programs for children at Ora Lee West development on Feb. 25 and 27 and Hudson Dockett development on Feb. 26 and 28.

Campbell’s challenge held two parts. All SIFE teams were asked to organize and implement a canned food drive during the holidays as well as create and implement a program arousing awareness in low-income areas regarding a hunger crisis in America. Teams were also asked to demonstrate methods for surviving in a competitive economy.

The VSU chapter of SIFE stepped up to the challenge. Laquita Kelley, vice president of the student group, said the canned food drive, held prior to Thanksgiving, was successful in acquiring hundreds of cans, and that SIFE is looking forward to teaching the children in these low-income communities valuable skills for living healthy and becoming active participants in the economy.

As part of the program, children at both locations created public service announcements, flyers and brochures to inform their respective communities about hunger and good nutrition. They also participate in the “Garden Patch,” a 5-acre lot in Adel owned by VSU faculty member Dr. Bill Buchanan, where children learn to plant, grow and sell vegetables to friends and neighbors. Participants will walk away with entrepreneurial skills and a better understanding of health and wellness. Initiated in July 2007, the “Patch” will soon be home to corn and other easily grown items.

“SIFE’s mission is educational outreach and the Stamp Out the Hunger challenge gave us another reason to reach out to our community,” Kelley said. “We were able to work with these kids on a great program to encourage good nutrition and make them aware of the national hunger crisis in America - it was a great experience for everyone.”

Although “Stamp Out Hunger” will end this Spring, kids in Ora Lee West and Hudson Dockett can still look forward to spending their evenings with members of SIFE. The group holds the sessions weekly at Ora Lee every Monday/Wednesday and Hudson Docket every Tuesday/Thursday, giving VSU students the opportunity to work with children on homework, educate them on basic life, nutrition and computer skills. This outreach project is one of more than 40 projects that SIFE implements each year. For more information about this or other projects, please e-mail Kelley at ljkelley@valdosta.edu .