Social Work Club supports People's Initiative Against Poverty

The Social Work Club has teamed up with Sister Wilhelmena Kade Browne’s organization People’s Initiative Against Poverty (PIAP) to create a fundraiser to not only let students know the hunger 805 million people experience every day, but to raise money as well that goes entirely to PIAP.

PIAP is an organization stationed out of Liberia in order to enhance the quality of life for its residents. Michelle Ahrens, a student in the Social Work Club member working on the event, says Sister Wilhelmena Kade Browne’s plan is to work on several large issues she sees in Liberia.

“She is helping fight poverty through agriculture and education. She has a chunk of land and people come in to work the fields to get paid and get meals for it. The main things they are raising money for is to build fences around that property and then also to put together scholarships,” Ahrens said.

On November 14-15, the Social Work Club has rented out the Student Union in order to run a fasting simulation for 24 hours. Maggie Switzer, a social work club member, said people will be entertained during the whole experience.

“”We will have really fun games, a documentary showing, reflection, a service project, and other fun surprises,” Switzer said.
In the Social Work Club alone, 30 out of the 40 active members have already signed up for their first of its kind event.

“We haven’t done anything like this before so I don’t know how big it is going to get,” Ahrens said.
Depending on the participant’s schedule, they do not even have to be present for the entire 24 hours.

“People do not have to commit fully to fasting for 24 hours. They can participate as little or as much as they want. They could even attend just certain parts of the event, and their participation is super welcome and encouraged,” said Switzer.

While the online fundraising page and any donations the club may receive will be critical, the main focus is to open Mercyhurst students’ eyes to the issue of hunger.

“People need to be able to see that people are going hungry not only in places like Liberia, but also locally. That is why were doing the off campus service project. It will be a cool connection from local to global issues,” Ahrens said.

To contribute to this cause, visit or talk to Dr. Lewis, Michelle Ahrens at, or anyone in the Social Work Club.