Video by: Bailey Hendricks, Assistant News Editor
Story by: Jessica Ricks, Staff Writer
The number of hungry people in the world surpasses the combined populations of Canada, the U.S. and the European Union. It’s not necessarily visible in middle-class America, but Towson students got to see and experience the direct impact of it during Tuesday’s Hunger Banquet.
About 25 students participated in a simulation dinner sponsored by the Office of Civic Engagement. The banquet was part of National Volunteer week, which had events running from Monday through Thursday.
According to Aleah Disney, service leader for Civic Engagement and one of the banquet organizers, the Hunger Banquet was created by Oxfam International, a charity organization striving to end world poverty. The Office of Civic Engagement puts on the event in both the spring and fall semesters during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
Students were greeted in front of Patuxent Lounge and given a piece of paper with a description of a person on it, including their annual income. This determined where the student would sit and what they would eat during the banquet.
Students who were placed in the “high income” group sat at a table with ceramic dishes and were served drinks, ravioli and salad.
The “middle income” group were seated at more humble tables with plastic dishes and served themselves chicken and broccoli.
And finally, the “low income” group was asked to sit on the floor where they had to serve themselves only a cup of plain rice, with no flatware.
After the banquet, students were invited to make sandwiches to be donated to the Baltimore-based non-profit Beans and Bread.
Breonna Myers, a junior attendee, said she comes from a place where hunger is a real issue, yet she found the banquet to be an eye-opener.
“I learned there are a lot of existing problems we don’t pay attention to,” she said. “We have so many resources but they’re not being utilized as well as they should be. The banquet put a lot of things into perspective.”
The most surprising thing about the banquet, she said, was how many students in the high and middle income groups were willing to share their food with the low income participants.
Emma Adomako, a junior and Civic Engagement leader, has participated in four hunger banquets and found this year’s banquet to be more interactive.
“This is the first time I’ve seen people from different groups share and interact,” she said. “I think with so many things going on in the world, it’s making us more unified.”
All students were encouraged to get involved with ending world hunger and make a difference by volunteering at nearby shelters like Maryland Hunger Solutions and Our Daily Bread.