Hunger Banquet Brings Poverty Statistics To Life

November 14, 2018

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As Thanksgiving and Christmas near, many Americans often look forward to the decadent meals they and their families prepare. While this is a normal tradition for most people here, a large majority of the world survives on less than $2 per day, severely limiting their food options.

The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is a deeply impactful event where participants are invited to attend a meal where they will learn about world hunger and poverty. On Wednesday, November 14, at 6 p.m. in Jackson Park, the TLU Center For Servant Leadership invites the campus and local communities to participate in a volunteer-led dinner that brings statistics about poverty to life.

Upon arrival, participants draw a ticket to see what meal they will be eating. The three levels differ in the amount and type of food served. While those who draw the wealthy card will enjoy a dinner of pasta or meat, starches, and veggies, others will be designated to only have rice and beans or even just rice and water.

As a global organization, Oxfam has dedicated the last 40 years to helping people build better futures for themselves, hold the powerful accountable, save lives in disasters, and tackle the root causes of poverty to create lasting solutions. Morgan Klaser, director of TLU’s Center For Servant Leadership, said the most appealing part of hosting an Oxfam Hunger Banquet is that it allows attendees to reflect on how hunger impacts all kinds of communities and to think personally about ways they can help.

“I think the most appealing part of the event is acknowledging that much of our life circumstances is random and out of our control,” Klaser said. “Access to nutritious food and clean drinking water is a privilege that many people take for granted. The Oxfam Hunger Banquet reveals this to participants in a unique and interactive way, which leaves you wanting to take the gained knowledge and do more at the end of the event.” This type of reflection is always important, but many become more aware of the disparity during this time of year.

“As the holidays approach and the semester winds down, it’s important to reflect on hunger and food insecurity in our communities,” she said. “Reflection can help us be grateful for what we have and make us more aware of resource gaps. The holiday season is often affiliated with giving and generosity. The Oxfam Hunger Banquet reminds us to give food to those who are hungry, to reduce our own food waste, and to learn about the needs in our local and global communities.” The event also helps people understand how they can actually make a difference.

“Systemic issues in our society, such as hunger, can sometimes feel too massive to tackle,” Klaser said. ”Coming together for the Oxfam Hunger Banquet allows attendees to think about the issue, learn more about how it impacts communities near and far, and spread awareness to others. I think the simple act of coming together in concern about an issue also brings solidarity and hope to participants.”

While there are no tickets or payments required to participate the Center For Servant Leadership is asking all attendees to bring canned food donations to the event. Any food donations will kick off their annual food drive from November 19 - December 13.

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