Banquet opens students eyes to hunger, homelessness

Emma SylvesterHunger Week: Hunger Banquet

While the statistics on homelessness and hunger were being presented, students were talking and joking; but when those who had actually lived through being hungry and homeless spoke, the room went silent.

Many students convened in the Marshall Center Ballroom Monday night for the 6th Annual Hunger Banquet. The banquet kicked off the start of Hunger Week, a project of Oxfam and the Center for Civic Engagement and Volunteerism.

“Hunger Week is really geared toward students on campus understanding what homelessness and hunger is worldwide,” said Andrew Kirkland, director of the Department of Marketing and Fundraising. “And the Hunger Banquet is a part where students get hands on experience with hunger.”

When students entered the ballroom, they drew a number, which put them into one of three groups. They are either part of the high-income, middle-income of low-income.

High-income students were seated at nice tables and served a nice dinner; middle income students sat at long tables and were able to choose from finger sandwiches and other snack foods, while the low-income students sat on the floor and were given rice and water.

Students in the lower classes were able to bid on empty seats at the high-income tables, the highest seat selling for $25.

The money from the auction and all canned goods donated at the Hunger Banquet and throughout Hunger Week will go to Metropolitan Ministries.

“We would like students to be aware of what food they are throwing away every day,” Kirkland said, “what food they are wasting, whether it is in the cafeteria on campus, in a restaurant, or at home. That food could be going to someone else who is homeless and hungry.”

Hunger Week continues with today’s event, “In the Eyes: Hunger and Homelessness Around the World” will take place in the MLK plaza from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Wednesday is the Hunger Week Fast, where students are encouraged to give up a meal in remembrance of those who must go without food. Thursday is the Empty Bowls Morning or Lunchtime shifts. Volunteers will be working for America’s Second Harvest.

The week ends with Friday’s Campus Sleepout on Castor Lawn until 7 am Saturday. The night begins at 7 pm at the MLK plaza with a showing of the movie “Invisible Children.”