Minot State University social work students recently instituted a branch of the Student Social Work Organization in Fargo. SSWO-Fargo's members are students enrolled in a dual-degree program between MSU's social work program and North Dakota State University's human development family science program.
Throughout early November, SSWO-Fargo collected money, groceries and supplies for the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, collecting more than $600 plus food and supplies, which will be delivered to Minot for the Minot Area Homeless Coalition during the semester break.
To fundraise and bring awareness of hunger and homelessness in North Dakota, SSWO-Fargo collaborated with the Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons during National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week, Nov. 10-18.
"Typically, homelessness is only thought of in terms of financial resources, but there are many factors that lead to homelessness. Loss of employment, long-term illness, substance abuse, divorce, domestic violence, child abuse, institutional release and other factors create situations when people cannot afford to pay rent or house payments," said Deb Dewitz, SSWO-Fargo advisor. "Additional causes may be attributed to defects in the system, such as lack of affordable housing, space in treatment facilities for persons suffering from mental illness or substance abuse and preventive services to help people remain in their homes."
On Nov. 13, members coordinated "Miss-a-Meal," an evening event with Bingo, raffle prizes and a guest speaker from the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People. Students went without eating from lunch on Nov. 13 until breakfast on Nov. 14 to experience missing just one meal.
"One Day Without a Home," was held Nov. 15. Participants stood in the cold and "froze" to experience homelessness firsthand for 24 hours, on the corner of 12th Avenue North and University in Fargo; community members dropped off food or monetary contributions.
From its National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week community-service projects, SSWO-Fargo also collected over $1,000 for the Fargo-Moorhead Area Homeless Coalition and more than 700 pounds of food for the Great Plains Food Bank. The Great Plains Food Bank combats hunger across the state.
Earlier this semester, SSWO-Fargo also participated in Fargo's "Out of the Darkness Community Walk" for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and "Take Back the Night" event, a sexual assault prevention program.