Dr. Evans Teaches Class on Poverty for Shepherd Consortium
The thirteen students in Dr. Evans’s “The Many Dimensions of Poverty” this semester will engage issues of poverty and hunger directly through their work with the Mississippi Food Network. This aspect of the course is linked to the department’s longstanding commitment to pursuit of social justice and positive social action in our surrounding communities.
As part of their coursework for the class, students will contribute to various programs within the Mississippi Food Network organization. Each student will choose one of the following programs in which to participate:
- SNAP Outreach: Students working with this branch of outreach will be visiting specific food pantries in the Jackson area where they will provide information to those that can benefit from SNAP assistance. Students will attend a short training session with Cynthia Wilson of MFN concerning recent policy changes to the SNAP program. Students will conduct interviews and focus groups with possible candidates and will assist the organization through filling out and filing the appropriate paperwork. Students will have the opportunity to speak with agency members and those needing more information on SNAP assistance.
- Backpack program: The BackPack Program is in place to meet the food needs of children in the Jackson area through providing healthy, concealed meals for weekends and holidays. Students interested in the backpack program will work directly with agency personnel to get a clear understanding of the lives of individuals that qualify for this program.
- The Hunger Study: Students selecting to engage in the hunger study will conduct in-depth interviews with members of the community concerning access to healthcare, food security, nutrition choices, and financial hardships. The hunger study is hands on and will provide students with an opportunity to engage in face-to-face interaction with members of the community that have been selected for the study.
“The Many Dimensions of Poverty” is a class that examines poverty as a problem for individuals, families, and societies. It focuses on the United States, which is arguably the most impoverished of any developed nation.This course is especially significant as the first course offered as part of the Shepherd Consortium, a poverty studies program housed at Washington and Lee. It also serves as the STEM grant project for the college.