This past Monday evening, the Honors program students, after much organization and planning, hosted the Oxfam http://www.oxfam.org/ Hunger banquet at Concordia. The banquet was designed to awaken the participants and hopefully others to the plight of those living in poverty focusing on hunger. The participants checked in and randomly drew a slip with their character for the banquet. On this slip was the name, description, and income bracket of a marginalized person. If the participant chose a person with low income, they sat on the floor and were served rice with water. If the participant chose middle income, they were served beans and water. However, the middle-income group was provided with chairs and fancier glasses and cutlery. The 15% which drew a high-income position received a full meal with dessert. They were privileged to be seated at a table and were served. Kyle, David, and Amy did an excellent job at being MCs, providing background information on world poverty and hunger. After the meal, they also had a discussion with the participants as a capstone on the evening regarding their thoughts and feelings as a result of the dinner.
When the possibility of organizing this hunger banquet first surfaced at the beginning of the semester, I hadn't thought about how it ties in strikingly with the theme for Honors this semester. Many of the readings, activities, etc. in Honors have been related to the theme of hearing the voices of the poor and marginalized. This includes a large research paper each student in Honors is completing regarding various environmental issues which, many times, have the largest effect on the less fortunate. I appreciated this real-world example of world hunger and poverty, especially in the context of everything we have been learning in Honors. As I have seen from research for my research paper, knowledge and awareness are key elements in helping the poor and marginalized.
During my first 2 semesters in the Honors program, I was involved in a service project of 100 hours of service to Feed My Starving Children http://www.fmsc.org/ (FMSC). FMSC provides the opportunity for groups to pack nutritious meals to send to children in third world countries. After serving there, I realized that people do care about issues such as hunger and serve willingly, given the opportunity. This is precisely what the Oxfam Hunger banquet accomplished. By informing people, which included handing out cards to participants of other ways to get involved and help the cause, great opportunities are opened for help of the poor and marginalized. Additionally, there was an unexpected happening during the banquet. Some of the people who had rice and beans or the full meal gave their food willingly because they didn't like the food, didn't want or need the amount of food they were served, or just felt sorry for the people with only rice. This gives me a new perspective on wasting food that I don't want or like. It is so easy, because food is so abundant, to throw food away. I now will take heed concerning the amount of food I or those around me waste.