School of Communication and the Arts


Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (MFA)


Monica A. Bruenjes


illustrator, author, graphic design, food insecurity, food insecurity in rural America, childhood food insecurity, effects of food insecurity, graphic novel, event signage, charity event, charitable giving, influencing others, mirror neurons, lack of food, rural America


Art and Design | Psychology


Children go hungry in America every day, particularly in rural communities, where statistics show food insecurity to be as high as 17%. This means one in six children in rural communities lacks nutritionally adequate food or the ability to acquire it on a daily basis. In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, this appalling statistic is unacceptable. But how do we mitigate food insecurity for children and its resulting effects on a child’s physical, mental, and social development? This project proposes to educate, raise awareness, and inspire and/or enable action by all stakeholders to reduce food insecurity, specifically for the children of rural America, through research-based, charitable-event signage and a children’s illustrated book. The expected result of these materials is that those who have resources to give will be inspired to do so, and those who suffer from food insecurity will better understand where and how to get assistance, no matter their age. To effectively accomplish this goal, I conducted research into the following: the definition and factors of food insecurity, food insecurity in rural America, the effects of food insecurity on children, reducing food insecurity for children, psychological factors for charitable giving, and designing with the intent to influence an audience. Unfortunately, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the situation due to supply-chain issues, rising unemployment rates, and inflation. Therefore, we cannot delay in raising awareness and providing aid to the food insecure. This project aims to do just that through illustrated story and printed signage.