- Students will understand that knowledge and understanding can move us to action
- Students will critically analyze an issue in their community
- Students will develop a plan of action for a service-learning project
- A handout (PDF) to help guide the project
"Ilse, a childhood friend of mine, once found a raspberry in the camp and carried it in her pocket all day to present to me that night on a leaf. Imagine a world in which your entire possession is one raspberry, and you give it to your friend."
-- Gerda Weissmann Klein
You have no doubt been moved by the film One Survivor Remembers. Now, the question looms:
What can I do to make a difference in the world?
This lesson introduces a service-learning project on hunger. It is complete with action steps and resources. Gerda Weissmann experienced tremendous hunger during her years in slave-labor camps and along the death march; consequently, ending hunger is a priority for The Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation. In this service-learning project, students will take action to help end hunger in their own communities.
During the discussion and planning, help students understand that small steps matter; no one can overcome a societal problem alone, but everyone can do his or her part.
NOTE: This service-learning project focuses on hunger. Treat it as a model. Students may choose other issues to address. Invite students to identify issues beyond hunger in their community as they take action to improve the world. You may brainstorm, in small groups or as a class, 10 issues that students are concerned about. (Examples: homelessness, discrimination, hate crimes, poverty, the elderly, bullying, etc.) Which one seems to garner the most interest? Select one on which to focus.
Hunger Service-Learning Project: A Model for Student Action
Step 1: Hunger Today
In the United States, more than 33 million people - more than one-third of them children - experience hunger. Food pantries and food kitchens feed more than 13 million people each month in the United States. Have students explore the websites listed below to find out more facts about hunger (or their chosen issue) in their community, in their state, in their nation and the world.
Step 2: Discussion
Use the research from Step 1 to discuss the following:
- Why are there people in this abundant world who are hungry?
- How many people suffer from hunger in the United States? Who are they? Are numbers rising or declining?
- What organizations exist to address hunger? Is this adequate?
- What does the term "food insecurity" mean? Who is affected by food insecurity?
- What is being done to alleviate hunger in our own community? Is it adequate?
- Is hunger too large a problem for one person to solve? Does that mean we shouldn't do anything?
Step 3: Service-Learning Project
Use the accompanying planning sheet to guide the project. Questions for consideration:
- What can we do to alleviate hunger in our community?
- How long can we do it? Is our plan a short-term answer or a long-term answer?
- Who can help us?
Step 4: Reflection
During and after the project, students may answer the following questions through written reflections, discussions and dialogue with each other and their community:
- What went well about the project?
- What can we improve upon next time?
- What have we learned about hunger? About our community? About ourselves?
- What is the next step, and how will we take it?
Visit The Klein Foundation and click on "How to Take Action" for more service-learning resources addressing hunger.