The Office of Equity and Diversity Shines a Light on Homelessness – Students Educate Themselves on the Unhoused and Volunteer to Help

By Davonna Barber, Contributing Writer

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Volunteers pose around the sandwiches they made for the homeless.
Davonna Barber | The Montclarion

Many different campus organizations came together to help bring awareness and share interesting statistics regarding homelessness on May 1. Volunteers came and helped make baskets of toiletries and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless. Over 75 sandwiches were made and donated to Tony’s Kitchen. Clothes were given to Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH) and extra toiletries were given to students on campus.

MESH showed a series of videos explaining how their organization helps homeless people and included interviews of the people they have helped.

“People don’t believe that people are homeless in Montclair because it is a suburb,” said Graduate Coordinator for Office of Equity and Diversity Maya Dowdell-Jeffries. “And there are people who need assistance, so the video was to let people know that homelessness exists, especially in Montclair.”

At the event, there were themed tables with statistics on them. One table explained how families with children are homeless. Another explained how many people in the LGBT community get kicked out for “coming out” and become homeless. Another table addressed sex trafficking.

“The purpose of the event was to bring awareness to the different types of homelessness,” said senior Event Coordinator Shannel Paulino. “You don’t have to be in the streets, and look bumish or dirty. A student can be homeless. A veteran can be homeless. Or it can be someone who goes to work every day but has nowhere to sleep at night. So we’re just trying to bring [awareness] those stereotypes.”

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