Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week was honored on campus as the Together Campaign held their event, the Hunger Banquet, on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Cheney A and B.
The Together Campaign club is striving to spread awareness for the global hunger crisis during the month of November. The Hunger Banquet was originally created through the social justice organization, Oxfam America. The banquet is an interactive simulation of world hunger featuring educational information as well as a guest speaker from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Upon arrival to the banquet, guests were given a false identity and background to uphold during the evening. They also received a free meal. Depending on the identity participants were given, they could be placed into the upper class, middle class or lower class. The upper class got to sit in chairs and had the luxury of being served whatever food they desired from Cheney. The middle class got a cup of rice, beans and a spoon to eat with. The lower class sat on the floor with a cup of rice and no spoon.
“The main goal is to raise awareness and create a fun and interactive way to let people understand the problems with hunger,” said club treasurer Kiersten Robson.
People who attend the event and are placed in the lower class typically feel a sense of hunger. They are also not encouraged to eat afterwards in order to have the full experience. This event really stimulates the feeling of hunger to help people realize the full effect of hunger and what people who are suffering from hunger are experiencing.
“Living on campus can isolate students and some may forget about issues happening in our world. Also, living here, we may not realize how naturally privileged we are and could underestimate the amount of people who do not have access to resources or opportunities. This includes something simple, such as three meals a day,” said club president Alyssa DeVivo.
The Together Campaign is doing a lot around campus, such as planning a senior prom for the elderly in the spring. Also, they are taking weekly trips to a local soup kitchen in Springfield every Friday with members of the club.
“So far we have had two successful events – Light the Way, where students created handmade lanterns in memory of loved ones affected by cancer. From here, students were able to personally decorate and place candles in them and line the walkway from Cheney to the Union,” DeVivo said. “Also, we had a tie-dye event on the track for Humanics in Action Day. We donated 150 to 200 shirts to children at Square One, a youth development organization in Springfield in need of essentials such as clothing.”