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(left to right) Cecil Basden, Bailey Walters, and Rebecca Edwards
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Student Social Work Organization
Freezin’ for a Reason in North Dakota

Very few people understand what social workers are, and what they do, and can be left with a less-than-accurate understanding. What we do for a living every day is to try to make people’s lives a bit better, in whatever way we can. Sometimes, we help people one at a time in our agencies, and other times, we help groups of people who all share a problem. But a big part of what we do is to try to help the community with problems that are bigger than one family or one group.

For the past four years, the Minot State University Student Social Work Organization has teamed up with the Minot Area Homeless Coalition in November for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. We organize all the media—TV, radio stations and newspapers—to make people aware that we have homeless and hungry people right here in the Minot region. We dispel the most common myth, that most homeless people are older males, by educating the public that the largest group of homeless people is single women and their children. We put a face on a public problem.

Each year, we volunteer to stand outside in the cold from noon until about 10 p.m., with only cardboard boxes for protection from the elements. We display signs to raise awareness about the issues of hunger and homelessness. Our educational campaign is working! This year, we raised $800 in cash donations for the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, and more than ONE TON of food that was donated to area food pantries and soup kitchens. We are grateful to the community and surrounding area for their generosity in helping the ever-growing number of children whose parents are having trouble buying food at the current high prices.

The MSU Student Social Work Organization group in Bismarck also participated in their own Freezin’ for a Reason event. Despite having only three weeks to plan and organize their version of the event, they raised more than $750 in cash donations and more than 700 pounds of non-perishable food items.