attended the Hunger Banquet hosted by Oxfam, which is dedicated to fighting poverty, hunger, and injustice and hopes to change legislation to improve these issues. Oxfam provided a lot of information about the hungry in our world. Forty percent of the people on our planet (more than 2.5 billion) live in poverty struggling to survive on less than $2 a day.
Upon arriving at the Interchurch Center of Cooperation, each guest picked a card. If you picked the gold colored card, you sat at the table with a full meal with vegetables and bread. These individuals constituted 20% of the world and make around $63,000 or more a year. If you picked the white card, you sat at the middle class table where you were served rice and beans. These individuals constitute 30% of the world’s population and make between $1,100 to $63,000 dollars a year. If you picked the gray cards (which 50% of us did), you sat on the floor and received rice with no silverware. These individuals make less than $1,100 a year. I picked a low income gray card. As a side note, I think that eating rice with your fingers is more difficult than chopsticks. It’s just messy.
Each card has a story of a person in the world who suffers hunger. My name was Luisa from Cashiriari, Peru. She is a member of the Machiguenga people who hunted and fished around the Urubamba River for thousands of years. The land around Luisa’s community is exploited by an oil company who cut down trees and polluted the water. She lives off the river and the forest and cannot survive if they are destroyed. About 80 percent of the world’s hungry people live in rural areas, where most of them work as farmers, herders, fishers, or laborers. One in seven people goes to bed hungry every night. Not because there isn’t enough food, but because of deep imbalances in access to resources like fertile land water. By getting a name, place, and story it allowed us to humanize the issue and enter into a larger understanding because we are able to relate.
Jim Morris, President of the Indiana Pacers, gave a presentation about hunger. He is a philanthropist and humanitarian involved in a variety of organizations working to solve the hunger issue. He mentioned that hunger happened to rich and poor countries. When we think of hunger, we usually think of third world countries; however, we have hungry people in our own midst. What really stuck with me is when he quoted Mother Teresa by saying, “If we don’t have peace in the world it’s because we forget we belong to each other.”
I think that Oxfam put on a great event. In reflections on hunger, I don’t want anyone to go hungry. I think that a good point was made when it was said that we all have the “same needs, but only different circumstances.” It’s very difficult to change those circumstances.
However, I don’t think it’s a good idea for people to rely on their government for food or be trapped by companies or government in poverty. I think it’s really great how some organizations work to fight hunger by allowing people to become more self-sufficient like Heifer International. Through this organization, you can purchase pigs, goats, sheep, and chickens to provide for whole families. Overall, we should consider how we can help people by allowing them to be more sustainable. It doesn’t help to give people food, but they end up hungry again the next day.
This event did a great job of raising awareness, but how do we eradicate hunger permanently? If we knew the answer we wouldn’t be here. The first step is just to get more involved in the fight.