Oxfam Hunger Banquet provides new perspectives on poverty, hunger awareness

Sophomore Jessica Kroenert and junior Matt Huben held the Oxfam Hunger Banquet on Monday Feb. 18 in the College Union Hunt Room. Oxfam International is an organization that spreads hunger and poverty awareness globally to give people a broader outlook on how these issues affect different nations.

“This program is about getting others out of poverty by providing them with resources rather than donations,” Kroenert said.

The banquet provided each of its participants with a role to play - featuring names and stories of actual people, each with a certain income. For example, one of the characters was Roberto, a 40-year-old Colombian man living in a Boston shelter within the low-income range.

The program began with junior Lucas Johnson describing the goals of the banquet.

“The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is a way to get people thinking and a fun way of getting the message [about poverty and hunger] across,” he said.

Then, each participant went to their assigned incomes and ate specific meals: Low-income characters were served rice, middle-income characters were served rice and beans and high-income characters were served multiple courses, including salad, bread, green beans and pasta. Unexpectedly, some of the high-income participants offered low-income participants portions of their food.

The meal was followed by a group discussion concerning personal choices and the world’s food distribution inequality. Attendees volunteered to speak about instances where they had seen poverty in the past as well.

Sophomore Andre Herring, a banquet participant, said, “I hope to bring this program, or a form of it, to my residence hall.” 

Kroenert and Huben said they promoted and organized the Oxfam Hunger Banquet not only to raise awareness, but also to empower and inspire others to change the world around them and fight against world hunger.