Photograph courtesy of Shalom Community Center

Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, Stepping Stones, Shalom Community Center and Martha's House will ask Bloomington to participate in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week Nov. 16-22 to bring awareness to poverty in the community.

It is a collaborative effort between the four non-profit organizations to teach community members about poverty and empower them to take action against poverty in Bloomington. The week's events include Food for Thought, Bloomington, Stand Up! and the Bloomington Food Stamp Challenge.

Food for Thought is a returning program under which several local restaurants donate a portion of proceeds to the participating non-profit organizations.

"Stepping Stones partnered with Martha's House last year to create what was called the Food for Thought fundraiser," Stepping Stones Assistant Director Warren Wade said in an e-mail. "We collaborated and recruited a handful of restaurants to donate a portion of their proceeds to our two agencies."

After last year's fundraiser, they decided to expand the initiative to a full week of awareness, education and fundraising. These two nonprofit organizations joined with Shalom Community Center and Mother Hubbard's Cupboard to create the week's programs.

"The week's events include Food for Thought, Bloomington, Stand Up! and the Bloomington Food Stamp Challenge."

The Bloomington Food Stamp Challenge requires participants to live off of the average food stamp allotment from midnight Nov. 15 to 6:45 p.m. Nov. 22. An average food stamp allows a single person to spend $21a week. Participants include Mayor Mark Kruzan, Herald-Times Editor Bob Zaltsberg, Monroe Circuit Judge Valerie Haughton, Charlotte Zietlow, Realtor and former City Councilman Jim Regester, Community Foundation President and CEO Shari Woodbury and IU Junior Julie Ponce.

Participants will blog about their experiences on the Herald-Times Online Web site. On Sunday, Nov. 22, they will discuss their experience at a panel discussion in the City Council Chambers.

To end Hunger and Homelessness Week, a comedic performance will take place at the Buskirk-Chumley on Nov. 22. Bloomington, Stand Up! will feature a performance by Drew Hastings, who is frequently featured on the Bob and Tom Show on Indianapolis radio and Comedy Central. The event will kick off with a reception at 6:45 p.m. with dessert, cheese, and wine tasting provided by Oliver Winery.


Each organization involved is devoted to fighting hunger and homelessness in Bloomington.

Mother Hubbard's Cupboard is a food pantry that provides healthy food and nutrition and gardening education to those in need. Located at 1010 S. Walnut St., it aides an average of 1,450 patrons a week.

Stepping Stones and Martha's House offer housing and support services to the homeless. Stepping Stones targets its efforts to youths between the ages of 16 and 20 years. Since opening in 2005, the organization has served a total of 32 residents. Martha's House is open to individuals and families.

Shalom Community Center provides a safe, friendly environment for people in need of basic services and assistance. Services include a daytime shelter with access to telephones, laundry facilities, personal care items, a food program, an employment program with job placement help, a family homelessness prevention project, and educational programs.

Audree Notoras can be reached at

For more information
Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week