Pacific Hunger Banquet Highlights Food Insecurity Home and Abroad
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many students cannot wait to go home and eat a bountiful meal with their families and friends. For many people around the world, however, and even some students here at Pacific, a Thanksgiving feast is no guarantee.
To bring attention to food insecurity that occurs throughout the globe, the Council of Social Entrepreneurs Club put on its 6th annual Hunger Banquet on November 7th at the Alex and Jeri Vereschagin Alumni House. The event was interactive, with those in attendance having their meal and where they sat determined by the luck of draw.
Participants would pull a card out of a bowl, assigning them a role of a person from a more or less affluent country.
Some of those in attendance would wind up at a well decorated dining table, eating an elegant meal, along with dessert. Others would wind up on the floor, eating a plate of beans and rice. The draw was meant to make those participating have a better understanding of food insecurity, and how we do not choose where we wind up in life.
One of the speakers included Pacific alumna Liz Thompson ‘82, who discussed how food insecurity affects students on our own campus. Thompson defined food insecurity as “lack of access to reasonably affordable nutritious food in reasonable amounts.” Thompson discussed how she had met students who had to decide between eating breakfast or buying a textbook — and found that many had a difficult time focusing in class due to lack of nutrition.
Thompson helps run the food pantry available at Cowell Wellness Center, which provides one bag of groceries per week to any Pacific student facing food insecurity.
Another speaker was Pacific Professor Bill Herrin, who went on to highlight many facts about global hunger that Americans aren’t typically aware of. Herrin spoke about his experiences in Uganda, stating that “poverty reaches out and touches you.” He also put food insecurity into historical context, discussing how it has been centuries since the globe has had a food shortage, yet so many people go without food every single day.
The Hunger Banquet aimed to put food insecurity into perspective, and bring attention to the fact that it does not discriminate; the organizers most assuredly succeeded in this endeavor.
All proceeds from the event were donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin, Stanislaus Counties, and to the Pacific food pantry.
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