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Learning and Serving: Hunger is Not a Game

Posted on 11/11/2013 @ 05:00 PM

Tags: pep

The second day of Hunger is Not a Game started off with Summit participants being split into groups to volunteer at three of the Detroit area’s leading food banks: Gleaners Community Food Bank, Forgotten Harvest and Yad Ezra.

At Gleaners, the teens started off the day with donating 350 pounds of canned goods and other non-perishable foods. They then toured the food bank, learned about the work they do on a daily basis and took on a few projects including sorting food to distribute to local agencies to then distribute to those in need and bagging food for kids to take home from school at the end of the week to ensure they have sustenance for the weekend.


BBYO teens at Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit, MI

At Forgotten Harvest, the teens sorted and packaged over 10,000 pounds of food to donate to those in need and at Yad Ezra, they divided food donations based on whether there was a hechsher or not so that kosher food would go to families who keep kosher.

In total, the teens packaged more than 20,000 pounds of food for those in need.



Posted on 11/10/2013 @ 08:45 PM

Tags: pep

After dinner, the teens had a “construction” competition. Using canned and non-perishable goods brought with them, they were broken into five groups to build structures relating to hunger.


Tree House representing the dream of childhood that children experiencing hunger miss out on.


The BBYO logo, with the last "o" arranged like a plate of food, representing the group of teens at the Summit coming together to work to raise awareness about hunger.


A mitten representing Detroit, the place they have come together to raise awareness about hunger.


The cornucopia, representing the gourd of food featured in The Hunger Games and Thanksgiving cornucopias.


A prison, representing that experiencing hunger feels like imprisonment and can be a life-long sentence.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll load the buses to service sites and spend the day learning and directly impacting the community.

Check back tomorrow for updates… Laila tov!


United Way Poverty Simulation

Posted on 11/10/2013 @ 08:00 PM

Tags: pep

The first day of Hunger is Not a Game has come to a close. The four teen coordinators – Brittany Bruck (BBYO Southern Region: Atlanta Council), Jordan Kotler (BBYO Northern Region East: DC Council), Daniel Roth (BBYO Pacific Western Region) and Michael Vivier (BBYO North Texas Oklahoma Region) – began with a program aimed at orienting the participants to what hunger truly is. In the format of “what would you do?” in various situations, the teens started to get a feel for what people suffering from hunger face every day.


United Way of Southeastern Michigan Representative Audrey Bloomberg explains the poverty simulation

Shortly after, representatives from the United Way of South Eastern Michigan joined the group to lead an interactive poverty simulation to help them try to understand what it’s like to spend a month living in poverty. The teens were divided into mock families and assigned roles (everything from mother to father, child to grandmother) along with sources of income, possessions, utility bills and identification documents.


Claire Akers (BBYO Keystone Mountain Region) and Danny Sills (BBYO Pacific Western Region), playing the role of a mother and son, review their finances and fill out social services forms.

The mission was laid out by representative and BBYO alum Audrey Bloomberg – the teens would be given one hour (representing a month, broken into 15 minute weeks) – to live a mock month by going to different stations around the room representing work, social services, school, the bank, a pawn shop and a community action organization.

“This may seem like a game, but it’s not a game,” said Bloomberg. “This is how people live in your cities across the world.”

The “families” were given eight minutes to strategize and then the simulation took place.

After, Bloomberg asked for words to describe how they felt. The answers: angry, stressed, overwhelmed, exhausted, cheated, guilty, annoyed, scared, embarrassed.

One eye-opening realization that came out of the program was that many people weren’t aware of the organizations like the community action organization (in the simulation and in the real world) that are available to help people in these situations, experiencing these feelings.


Nearly 80 Teens Arrive in Detroit for Hunger is Not a Game

Posted on 11/10/2013 @ 02:00 PM

Tags: pep

Around 2:00 p.m. EST, the first teens began trickling into the hotel in downtown Detroit which will be home for the next few days for Hunger is Not a Game: A Teen Issue Summit on Hunger Awareness and Advocacy.

Hunger is Not a Game: A Teen Issue Summit on Hunger Awareness and Advocacy

Amongst the laughter and reunion hugs as nearly 80 Jewish teens from across North America gather, chatter about the upcoming activities during the three days of learning, service and advocacy surrounding hunger awareness begins. On the docket for the Summit:

United Way Poverty Simulation - an interactive poverty simulation to learn what it’s like to live below the poverty line

Canstruction – the teens will create a structure with canned goods they brought with them, which will then be donated to a local food bank

Direct service – the teens will directly impact the Detroit community by volunteering at three of the area’s leading food banks (Forgotten Harvest, Yad Ezra and Gleaners Community Food Bank)

An afternoon at the University of Michigan – a guided tour of the campus, a Food Stamp Challenge (an interactive activity where teens will plan weekend’s worth of meals on a food stamp allowance - $4.50/day) and an Oxfam Hunger Banquet presented by BBYO (a meal devised to help participants understand what people of different income levels around the world eat each day)

A night out in Ann Arbor!

MAZON Paper Plate Campaign - a session where teens will learn how to best advocate for people suffering from hunger in their local communities

It is going to be a meaningful three days here in Detroit… Be sure to check back here on the bog for updates and follow the action on Twitter!


A Successful Summit

Posted on 06/27/2013 @ 04:00 PM

Tags: pep

After a combined 1,080 hours of service, the teens at BBYO Stand UP and Rebuild have made a huge impact on the Staten Island community and for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

On their last day at the Summit, the group again split into two. The first group continued community beautification – today, they actually planted a garden. The second group continued stringing water bottles together to create the walls of the sustainable greenhouse and laid down the foundation at the community garden. They also planted garden beds to go in the community garden.

In the garden, Skylar Morley, 16 years old, of Ridgefield, CT thought out loud, “This is actually really cool. They were right when they said it’s the little things that make big differences.”

With that we are reminded to think globally and act locally.



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