Banquet aims to fight world hunger

By By Jamie Bowen

By Jamie Bowen

Elan Bartholomew, a freshman in film studies, volunteered at the food pantry at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church last summer when he realized how much hunger there was in Salt Lake City.

“It blew my mind,” he said. “It’s everywhere. It goes to show how prevalent it is in Utah.”
The Bennion Community Service Center set out to raise awareness and help fight hunger Tuesday evening.

The ninth annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet helped students understand what hunger is and showed them how they could make a difference in the world.

Normally after the banquet, people leave wanting to make a change in the world, but they don’t know how to do it, said June Hiatt, a junior in economics involved with the center. But this year, 15 people from centers around the community were outside the banquet to help students find ways they can help fight hunger, she said.

But before they left, students were given a glimpse into what it is like going without food while everyone else around them indulges in its abundance.

“It’s impactful because you gain an awareness of what you have,” said Stanley Lloyd, issue education coordinator for the Bennion Center.

The banquet, which was held in the Crimson View Café of the Union, cost $5 or five cans of food to enter. The attendees received a card with a scenario that separated them into three groups, each representing the economic classes of the world.

The first group was on the floor, representing the lower class. The second group was placed on a long table, which represented the middle class, and the last group was seated nice tables, which represented the upper class.

Each class received a different meal: The lower class got a small bowl of rice, the middle class received a bowl of rice and beans, and the upper class had a three-course meal.

People were placed in different groups to show them the difference between the economic classes of the world and what they would eat, said Hiatt.

During the banquet, the attendees listened to two speakers, Linda Hilton of Crossroads Urban Center and Gina Cornia of Utah Against Hunger, talk about hunger in Utah and lay out ways it can be stopped or prevented.

“I like the setup,” said Kathleen Brown, a sophomore from Westminster, who sat in the upper-class section. “It makes me feel guilty for wasting food and having all of this.”
Brown said that she wants to be more conscious of wasting food and find ways to donate it.
All the proceeds are donated to the Utah Food Bank and Oxfam America, a nationwide organization to fight hunger. Chartwells donated the food and the center paid for the room.

“I don’t totally believe you can fight an issue unless you really understand it,” Hiatt said. “The hunger banquet is a good opportunity to see what hunger looks like and makes a lifelong change.”

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Richard Payson

The Oxfam Hunger Banquet was held Tuesday night at the Crimson View Caf to raise awareness of and to help fight hunger,