While many of us are preparing to give thanks over a Thanksgiving meal, many in our community and around the world will not be feasting. Students at IPFW had the opportunity to experience this food disparity at a Hunger Banquet.
Imagine being invited to a “banquet”. It’s free and you are told that food will be served. My assumption is that your thought would be the same as mine – a free meal. Based on the volume in the room as students learned who would be eating, and who would not, I believe that most of them had the same thought.
Upon entering the Walb Student Union ballroom, students sat at eight-person tables. Each seat had a place mat that was either purple, green or yellow. As the ‘banquet’ began, they were informed that the color of their place mat was significant. Purple meant you would be served a full, multi-course meal including clean water. Green signaled that you would eat rice and beans, but only after you served yourself from a central distribution table. Yellow indicated you would have to retrieve rice if you wanted to eat. Those without a place mat, were left with only ‘dirty water’.
As students ate their lunch, they learned about what hunger is in America and northeast Indiana. I was introduced to a term I had never heard before – food insecurity. That really hit home with me. I’m sure we’ve all experienced feeling insecure. Can you imagine what having insecurity about food feels like? For most of us, we can’t. The unfortunate reality is that 56,160 of our Allen County neighbors do. (Based on information from Feeding America)
If this number surprises you, you may want to take a Hunger Quiz similar to the quiz all Hunger Banquet attendees were asked to take.
Feeling called to act? To get involved? I recommend getting started by donating and/or volunteering with Community Harvest Food Bank. The keynote from the Hunger Banquet was from this local organization that is one of 200 Feeding America organizations around the nation. You might also consider donating through the Change a Life Project going on now.
As you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal, will helping satisfy the hunger of others be on your list of things you are grateful for?