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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Author/educator to speak about hunger abatement beyond charity

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Talk is part of this fall’s Honors Colloquium

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 7, 2004 -- In her book, Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement, Hunter College Sociologist Janet Poppendieck argues that while charity feeds the poor, it has also become the basis for complacency.

Prior to the 1980s, our nation did not have the army of food banks, soup kitchens, and food pantries that dot America’s landscape today. Yet their appearance in virtually every community marks the continual rise in the number of people who are hungry or food insecure in direct response to the decrease in government assistance. Poppendieck suggests then, that private sector food programs should not be interpreted as a sign of success in the fight to end hunger, but rather of political failure.

Poppendieck will be the featured speaker at the University of Rhode Island on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. Her talk, free and open to the public, is part of this fall’s Honors Colloquium “Food & Human Rights, Hunger & Social Policy.” It will be held in the Barry Marks Auditorium, Room 271, Chafee Social Science Center.

Poppendieck’s primary concerns as a scholar and as an activist have been poverty, hunger, and food assistance in the United States. From 1988 until 2001, she served as the director of the Hunter College Center for the study of family policy, where she helped to start the Welfare Rights Initiative, the Community Interpreter Project and the Language Diversity Initiative.

In addition to Sweet Charity, she is the author of Breadlines Knee Deep in the Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression and articles on hunger, food assistance and public policy.

Poppendieck serves on the boards of directors of the Community Food Resource Center and the Association for the Study of Food and Society and on the advisory committees of City-as-School and the Welfare-Rights Initiative and is currently writing a book on the significance of the Universal School Breakfast Program.

Major sponsors for the colloquium include Edward W. Bouclin, The Providence Journal, Theta Chi Fraternity, URI ‘s College of Arts & Sciences, College of Business Administration, College of the Environment & Life Sciences, College of Human Science & Services, Division of University Advancement, Honors Program, Office of the Provost, and President’s Office. Co-sponsors include URI’s College of Nursing, Multicultural Center; Office of Student Affairs; Partnership on Food, Hunger, and Nutrition; Women’s Center and Women’s Studies Program.

For the most current colloquium information, visit or call URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381.