This past Tuesday, students, faculty members, and members of the Madison community gathered in the TC Underground for the Oxfam Hunger Banquet, a gathering, designed by DSU Diversity Services, Dr. Lanza and Dr. Berry, that displayed the problems with hunger throughout the world as well as the local Madison area. When asked what she thought of this event, Dr. Lanza responded by saying, “I would say that I am very honored to be part of the first annual DSU Hunger Banquet, and that I hope this will become an annual event here at DSU. I believe it offers our students an opportunity to contemplate and discuss some of the factors that contribute to world hunger and poverty: racism, gender discrimination, and socioeconomic inequities. It is an event that takes our students outside of the classroom and connects them to a community.” Along with the food being served, several speeches and songs were presented to the audience.
When people entered the event, they were split into different class sections that would determine what kind of food, and how much of that kind of food would be served for their meal. The lower class people were given merely rice and water and not even enough spoons to eat the rice with, so several members of this class had to eat with their hands; furthermore, the men in this group were fed before the women and they all had to sit on the floor. Following this, the middle class section was served a meal of rice, refried beans, and canned green beans; these people were served equally, and were able to sit at the table. Finally, the people sorted into the upper class were given a meal of lasagna, breadsticks and even a dessert; moreover, these people were able to sit at a table designed for a banquet which really displayed the wealth and elegance that members of this class enjoy compared to members of other classes. By doing this, the organizers of this event helped the members of the community understand what it is like to be of a certain social status and the privileges some classes enjoy in relation to their ability to acquire food and, more importantly, the disadvantages other classes face in their struggle to feed their families. This information was organized with help from Nicholas Brosz.
As well as the meal, the audience was privileged to hear speeches from Jeff Nelson, President of the Lake County Food Pantry, and Kim Wermers, a member of the Madison Kid’s Pantry. Each of these speakers presented on the issues surrounding the notion of hunger in the modern world. These speeches helped give the audience a better understanding of the needs of poor and hungry citizens throughout the world as well as our own community. Hopefully, after hearing these speeches, the people who attended will have a better understanding of the needs of people living in hunger. Following these speeches, the audience was treated to a musical performance.
According to WorldHunger.org, 925 million people were hungry in 2010. This is not a problem that can be ignored, because without people taking action, this problem will only get worse. Events like this show people the need for action to help combat hunger in our own community, as well as throughout the world. Hopefully more events like this will be done in the future to help keep people aware of the problem with hunger in our community.