Hunger banquet demonstrates what it’s like to dine in developing countries

About 795 million people around the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy and active life. That is about one in nine people. 

Last week, Join Us Making Progress hosted Hunger and Homelessness Week, bringing awareness on the issue through different on-campus events from a hunger banquet to a volunteer day at Redwood Empire Food Bank.

JUMP hosted the Oxfam America Hunger Banquet this past Tuesday, which allowed attendees to experience dining in a developing country.

“These events are important because it brings awareness and allows students to reflect on this issue,” said Casey Elbert, Human Services director. “This is something new to a lot of people so this event brings awareness in an interactive way.”

JUMP hosted the banquet in Ballroom A of the student center and featured two tables: one representing First World countries and the other representing Second World countries. They represented developing countries by seating on paper bags on the floor.

Students were given a piece of paper assigning them a name and country of origin that represented which country and status they would be in. Once everyone got sorted, a video presentation began, which gave attendees real life scenarios that guided them to move up or down in the world.

By the end of the video, four people were sitting at the First World table, which had a white tablecloth, different drink options on the table, nice silverware and plates and beautiful glasses. 

Six people were sitting at the Second World table, which had no tablecloth and no nice silverware or plates. The rest of the attendees sat on the floor.

“It feels really good to sit at the First World table but sitting here also makes me feel a little guilt,” Ashley Songer, a freshman, said as waiters served her appetizers, an entree and dessert.  Others at the table said they felt bad about being served so much food while the rest were not served very much.

Those sitting at the Second World table were given rice and beans along with a choice of water or tea. The meal was not served on dishes but rather on paper plates and waiters served beverages in plastic cups instead of glass ones.

Gio Castellanos, a junior, was sitting with the majority of students in the developing countries. He said it was really interesting to see the disparity displayed.

“You hear about hunger issues but you don’t really see it or understand it,”  Castellanos said. “This even gives you an understanding how a huge portion of the world lives and it’s very eye-opening.”