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PHS students strive to end hunger

Beginning in January 2016, Parkdale IB Diploma and AP art students worked with Crossland High School and Frederick Douglass High School art students to paint and decorate ceramic bowls in support of Homelessness Hunger and Poverty (HHP).

The HHP campaign started five years ago when IB Parkdale students chose this as their long term Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project. CAS is one of the three essential elements that every student must complete as part of the Diploma Programme (DP). It is a way for students to get more involved in their community.

“I’ve been serving at the Food Pantry for five years,” said sophomore Josh Omolola and first vice president of Maryland Association of Student Councils. “It means giving back to the city that raised me.”

The HHP campaign aims to identify issues of food shortage and to provide help in the form of wellness and support. Students involved worked to constantly service their community, and the tradition has been passed down ever since.

Each individually painted ceramic bowl cost a total of $30 to help reach the campaign goal of raising $5,000 toward the Charles Carroll Food Pantry.

Faith Based Collaborative Outreach Group (FBCOG) was established in 2010 and partnered up with Charles Carroll Middle School, and so the CC Food Pantry was born. Their mission is “to aid students and families challenged with food insecurity, and to humanitarian service aides.”

Students participating in the campaign regularly go out and service their community by volunteering at So Others May Eat (SOME) in Washington. SOME is a non-profit organization that strives to provide food, shelter and clothing to the homeless.

While many people often think in order to help the homeless, they must volunteer with the Red Cross or travel overseas to Africa and give aid to malnourished children who are victimized on our televisions screens, that is not always the case.

There are people right within the Prince George’s community who are in need of assistance as well. And the IB and AP Art students aim to reach out to these members of the community.

“Parkdale being a magnet school gives us an upper hand to learn how other communities interact with the less fortunate and then take it back to their communities and adapt to how it fits your communities,” said Omolola. “Many students don’t realize that there are many ways, from giving winter wear to those in need to helping parents who aren’t mobile by dropping their kids off at home or school, [that] could do a lot.”

Many times, people think of homelessness as a farfetched issue that only affects those outside of the Parkdale community.  

However, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a homeless individual is “an individual who lacks housing, including an individual whose primary residence during the night is a supervised public or private facility (e.g., shelters) that provides temporary living accommodations, and an individual who is a resident in transitional housing.” This means that homelessness is not just people living on the streets, but instead, someone who does not have a permanent residence.

While many may walk down the street and completely ignore those on the streets, some Parkdale students are aiming to eliminate this epidemic.

“I volunteer to be of service to my community,” said sophomore Mimi Nguyen. “It means I’m able to empathize with others well because if I didn’t I would not see a purpose in volunteering like I do. Being able to see the humanity in other people pushes me to put myself out there to help others in need.”