Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project (YHHAP)


Our Mission:

The Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project is a student-run not-for-profit organization that works on behalf of New Haven’s homeless and near-homeless communities. Through direct service, fundraising, education, and advocacy, we aim to alleviate the immediate effects of homelessness while working to address its root causes and pursue long-term solutions.

Our Activities:

Kitchen to Kitchen Direct Service K2K transfers unused food from Yale Dining to the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, where it is donated to the soup kitchen. These transfers happen every Monday through Thursday Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project (YHHAP) Direct Service Please visit our website https://yhhap.org/our-projects for the most up-to-date information about all our projects. Here are some of the 12 ongoing projects: VITA helps community members file taxes and claim refunds 4 days a week from January to April. Kitchen to Kitchen picks up food from dining halls and takes to the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen four days a week. Project Homeless Connect organizes a service fair for the homeless once this semester. The Clothing Closet collected clothes for donation and donated them to the clothing closet at St Paul and St James church. The YHHAP fast is coordinated and raises money for the Rapid Rehousing Project. Restaurant Rescue Project transfers food from restaurants to receivers like the soup kitchen on a daily basis to reduce food waste in New Haven. Yale Community Kitchen (YCK) is Yale’s student-run soup kitchen and serves donated food by Yale Dining to the New Haven residents. Elm City Echo publishes a literary magazine of prose, poetry, and artwork every semester that are created by New Haven individuals that have experienced extreme poverty and homelessness. No Closed Doors serve the un- and underemployed residents navigate job opportunities. Big Sibs has volunteers who mentor and advise children in need. Restaurant Rescue Project Direct Service RRP transfers leftover food from a number of local restaurants to DESK. RRP runs happen at set times throughout the week, usually M-F. Big Sibs Direct Service A mentorship program for children living at the Life Haven shelter. All activities take place outdoors, and volunteers bring activities and/or work on homework with participants. Currently, we are waiting to hear from Life Haven on their current capacity for volunteers—we may have weekly, in-person shifts, or one or two in-person sessions, or just remote tutoring along with activity kits that can be delivered for participants. Clothing Closet Direct Service Volunteers transfer bags of gently used clothing from the collection box outside of DESK to Loaves and Fishes on Olive Street. Yale Community Kitchen Direct Service Serve to-go meals to New Haven community members using repackaged leftover meals from Yale Dining. YHHAP food drive Direct Service The YHHAP food drives manages food donations bins located outside of dining halls. The project was implemented to prevent food waste, specifically when students have non-perishable items leftover when they leave for breaks & during move-out. Volunteers transfer these food donations to Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Direct Service VITA provides free tax assistance to low-income and disabled New Haveners, offering Yale students the opportunity to interact with their New Haven neighbors while delivering a lasting impact on their financial well-being. With flexible volunteer hours, and two hours being the minimum volunteer shift, VITA volunteers work directly with clients to complete and file tax returns, preparing volunteers with useful life skills in personal finance. In 2020, VITA had more than 500 clients seen and about $1,200,000 refunded. Operating out of the New Haven Public Library, volunteers can choose to assist in filing services, saving clients tax preparation fees, or serve as an intake coordinator, helping to greet clients and prepare their documents. No Closed Doors Direct Service No Closed Doors is a student-run resume and job application support service that works closely with New Haven Works, a local hiring nonprofit. Volunteers at No Closed Doors sign up for shifts of as little as one hour a week, and help un- and under-employed New Haveners work on job applications and format resumes Elm City Echo Advocacy, or Activism The Elm City Echo aims to promote awareness of homelessness and displacement by giving contributors a community-oriented platform to amplify their voices and experiences. The Echo empowers individuals through the process of sharing while centralizing creators’ voices. Since 2011, student volunteers have worked with individuals experiencing extreme poverty and homelessness to record and publish the prose, poetry, and artwork. Each collaboration begins with volunteers visiting one of our community partners (Columbus House or Fellowship Place) to facilitate the storytelling process. Once a semester, we publish the pieces in a literary magazine that is freely distributed around New Haven. The YHHAP Fast Fundraising The Yale Hunger and Homeless Action Project Fast is YHHAP’s largest fundraiser of the year, and the largest student-run fundraiser on Yale’s campus. Once every semester, over half of the Yale student body donates their Yale Dining meal swipes for one day. The monetary equivalent of their donated swipes — more than $10,000 per Fast -- goes to support local nonprofits and grassroots organizations alleviating food and housing insecurity. During the Fast, students forgo their usual dining hall meal and eat out, often at one of the locally owned New Haven businesses that sponsor the Fast. Student volunteers focus on recruitment, graphic design, advocacy campaigns, and outreach throughout October & November of the fall semester, and throughout March & April of the spring semester.

Student Leaders:

Monika Krasniqi - Co-Coordinator/Co-President Luis Guevara-Flores - Co-Coordinator/Co-President

About the Author