A recent United Nations report found more than one billion people around the world are malnourished, subsisting on simple grains like rice.
Hunger Banquet Slated November 16

October 29, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – A greater understanding of the world’s struggles with hunger will be the focus of the Illinois Wesleyan University annual Hunger Banquet, which will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. on Monday, November 16 in the Davidson Room at the Memorial Center (104 E. University St., Bloomington).

The event is open to Illinois Wesleyan students, faculty and staff, but seating is limited to the first 50 people. Tickets are five dollars each, and can be obtained by calling (309) 556-3374. Ticket proceeds will be donated to Crop Hunger Walk.

The object of the banquet is to educate participants about food inequality throughout the world, said one of the Hunger Banquet organizers Laurine Brown, co-chair of the University’s Development Studies Team for the International Studies Program, which is sponsoring the event. “What you eat depends upon where you live and what opportunities you have,” said Brown.

The banquet, which started at Illinois Wesleyan in 2003, is patterned after the original Hunger Banquet, first conceived by the world charity organization, Oxfam International.  Hunger Banquet participants are given a nametag with the identity of a person who lives somewhere in the world, and seating is assigned by socio-economic status. “A person can either be low-, middle- or high-income,” said Brown. “The number of people in each status reflects the percentage of people throughout the world who live each day in poverty or wealth.”

The evening’s menu also is representative of what is available to the individual in his or her income bracket, ranging from a simple meal of rice and water for the poor to a sumptuous full-course meal for the wealthy. “A majority of the world lives in poverty, so many people are looking at a dinner of very simple staples,” said Brown, adding that stories will be shared by Illinois Wesleyan students about the individuals who diners will be representing.

The Development Studies Team hopes the event will bring home the stark reality of the growing problem food injustice in the world. A recent United Nations report finds that more than  one billion people are malnourished and the numbers are rising. “The evening will really put into perspective what the world eats, and will get people thinking about food inequality,” Brown said. “I can’t promise everyone will walk away with a full belly, but they will be full of knowledge.”

For further information on the international Hunger Banquet movement, visit the Hunger Banquet  Web site.                      

 Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960