Educating students about the problems of hunger in the world is a top priority for Mary Lynn Morin. Every year she dedicates time to discovering new, more innovative ways to raise awareness at Winman Junior High school about this global issue. She is tireless in her pursuit to encourage children in her community to take action and lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate. In fact, Morin helped write the Feinstein junior high program on hunger awareness that is now used in schools across the state. The program was created in conjunction with the Feinstein Foundation, a philanthropic organization.
In her capacity as coordinator of the community service program at Winman, Morin has recruited the participation of other teachers in the school. She also acts as a consultant while donating many additional hours of uncompensated time outside of school to hunger awareness and prevention initiatives. In 1996, Morin and her students sponsored a hunger poetry contest that generated poetry submissions from teachers, students, administrators, secretaries and janitors. The widespread support for the event brought the issue of hunger and homelessness to the attention of the entire school population. The contest resulted in the creation of Hungry and Homeless: An Anthology of Poetry about the Homeless, a poetry compilation that was purchased by Barnes & Noble Bookstore. In 1997, Morin's classes compiled a cookbook titled Help for Hungry Stomachs, which contained recipes and personal comments from such notable people as President Clinton, the First Lady and Senator Chafee. Students learned about hunger, its causes and effects, while conducting research for the cookbook.
On January 29, 1998, Winman held its first Hunger Banquet, an awareness and fund-raising event organized by Morin and her students. What was unique about the event was the way in which the banquet dramatized world hunger. Fifteen percent of the ticket-holders were served a well-balanced meal, 30% were served rice and beans, and the remaining 55% only received a handful of rice and water. A soup kitchen was open to the 85% who received meager meals, emphasizing the efforts of those who help the needy. A total of $1,000 was raised at the banquet and donated to Rhode Islander's for a Hunger Free State. The money raised from cookbook sales and the banquet was matched by the Feinstein Foundation and all proceeds went to Rhode Island charities.
Morin is still very active in engaging her students in projects about hunger in America. This year they have made a quilt to be raffled off to raise money for their selected charities. Much of the success of the students and their hard work for this cause has been inspired by Morin through her personal dedication to the cause. She has worked to ensure that the problem of hunger and how to fight it remains a constant, ongoing presence in the hearts and minds of the students, faculty and staff.