The Mid-Ohio Foodbank and its partners are tapping a new resource to raise hunger awareness: students.
Art Action is an initiative launched by the foodbank with Growing Together Service Learning Network and Partnerships Make a Difference to engage students through service learning projects.
Area students have until Nov. 27 to research and create visual art projects that express how they perceive hunger. The projects include as T-shirts, painting, drawing and sculpture.
Yolanda Owens, of the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, said Art Action not teaches students about hunger but also allows them to express what the issue looks like to them.
"The face of hunger is changing," Owens said. "Hunger can be your neighbor."
More than 30 area schools through Partnerships Make a Difference's network are involved with Art Action.
"(The foodbank) really wanted to raise awareness about this and engage students," said Ellen Erlanger of Partnerships Make a Difference. "They really were seeking some new, fresh, creative, kid-friendly visuals to catch people's interest."
Before students can express themselves, they first have to become experts about the issue, Erlanger said.
"They are learning as they do it," she said. "The art piece is really a culmination of an in-depth learning experience."
Among the classes participating are the 28 students in Alicia McGinty's designing with material II class at Upper Arlington High School.
"I have one girl who looking to make plates," McGinty said. "Each plate would have a different statistic on it."
Other students, McGinty said, are using quilting fibers, fused glass, recycled material, linoleum printing and more. One student is making a collage of photographs depicting the hungry.
"She figured out (the hungry) look like everybody," McGinty said. "You don't always notice right away the people who are most needy."
McGinty said the initiative has allowed her students to create very individualized in-depth projects.
"The students have really taken it to heart, and I think the research helped that," she said. "They were able to pinpoint what they thought was the most interesting."
Molly Miely, the service learning building leader at Jones Middle School in Upper Arlington, said the effort combines academic learning with a real-world issue for students to bring their energy and perspective to.
"Kids are a great resource," Miely said. "They get so passionate and motivated ... They want to do something about it. They want to be change agents."
Art Action began on Sept. 11, as part of Hunger Action Month. In December, the Mid-Ohio Foodbank will showcase selected pieces by students in kindergarten through second grades, third through eighth grades and ninth through 12th grades and will recognize participants with an event on Dec. 4.
For more information about Art Action, visit midohiofoodbank.org/pdfs/HAM/9.11.13-Art-Action.pdf or partnershipsmakeadifference.org.