Points for a Purpose posts portraits, interviews about food insecurity in Evanston


Daily file photo by Sophie Mann

Students can donate their leftover meal points to Points for a Purpose at Northwestern Dining locations. The student group launched a new social media campaign last week to raise awareness about food insecurity in Evanston.

Kristina Karisch, Reporter

Points for a Purpose launched a new social media campaign that features photos and stories of people in Evanston who are food insecure, hoping to raise awareness on the issue.

The group started “Faces of Hunger” on Thursday, said Weinberg junior Matthew Griswold, co-president of the organization. Griswold said the campaign was modeled after the popular photo series “Humans of New York,” a social media blog that features pictures of New Yorkers — and individuals from other countries — who tell their stories through quotes.

Point for a Purpose members went into Evanston to find people to feature in the campaign, Griswold said. The student group aims to combat food insecurity at Northwestern and in Evanston.

“One lady came here from Pakistan because her parents kicked her out because she was dating a foreigner,” he said. “(She) sleeps in the parking lot by Whole Foods, which is just crazy to think about.”

Griswold said the campaign emphasizes that food insecurity is a ongoing issue in Evanston. Last spring, the Institute for Student Business Education conducted a survey on behalf of Points for a Purpose and found a large portion of students at NU were unaware of hunger in Evanston, said Medill sophomore Kayla Reardon, a member of the group.

The survey indicated a majority of NU students do not believe there is a food insecurity problem in Evanston, Reardon said. She chalked this up to students’ isolation on campus or because they’ve only seen “nice houses” in Evanston.

“Faces of Hunger” will be promoted through Facebook and Instagram, Reardon said.

In addition to anecdotes from Evanston residents, “Faces of Hunger” may also feature facts and graphics that educate students about food insecurity in the Evanston area, Reardon said.

“I hope that this increases people’s awareness but also their emotional reaction, or willingness to help,” she said. “If this campaign can make them feel like they gain more from helping or donating, that’s even better.”

So far, Points for a Purpose has a handful of stories, Reardon said, but it is looking for more people and hopes to extend the campaign as long as it can.

In addition to “Faces of Hunger,” Griswold said the group plans to provide food and care packages to students during Thanksgiving Break because not all dining halls will be open during the break.

Rachel Hamil, marketing and communications specialist at Sodexo, said meetings for the Thanksgiving program will be held in the coming weeks. Sodexo — the private company that provides the University’s dining services — plans to meet with Points for a Purpose and other organizations on campus to come up with a comprehensive plan, Hamil said. The group has already planned to host a food bank with Sheil Catholic Center during Thanksgiving, Griswold said.  

Points for a Purpose will continue running its regular campaign to donate leftover dining points at the end of this quarter, which will raise money for food insecure people in Evanston.

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Twitter: @kristinakarisch