ecently, I attended Indy’s Hunger Banquet put on by Indianapolis Oxfam Action Corps. Oxfam devotes its whole organization to help relieve hunger, poverty and injustice around the world. As I drove to the event, I quickly realized I had forgotten to eat lunch that day. I thought to myself, how ironic that my stomach is growling as I get ready to attend an event about those who go hungry every day. As soon as I arrived, I was asked to select a card from the basket. This card would become my identity for the evening. It turns out I was Fred. Fred was a farmer who had lost everything in a third world country. I was in the lowest class. I could not help but selfishly envy my fellow guests who had received cards from the first and second world. My selfish hunger pains momentarily overcame my compassion.
The “first world” was asked to sit at the tables with the white linens, silverware and full meals. The second world was seated at tables without linens and served rice and beans. We in the third world were seated on the floor, served only white rice and not given any utensils. What was so striking about this exercise was that the majority of participants were placed on the floor in the third world. It represented the reality of how many people in our own country and our world live in poverty. I then remembered how hungry I was and began to feel guilty for having the opportunity to experience fullness. The purpose of this event was not to induce guilt, however, it was to open our eyes to what we may not have paid attention to before. I had forgotten to eat lunch that day. While for so many, when they will have their next meal is all they can think about. It is so easy to take advantage of what we have. The very fact that I could forget to eat is a privilege, because whether or not I eat my meals at specific times I know that whenever I am hungry, I will have enough to eat. How easy it is to forget until we experience hunger pains.
I left that night with a raised awareness of hunger in our world and the mindset that I would take steps to help fix this very fixable problem. It is a challenge to take ourselves out of “our own little worlds” and remember that there are those in need. I encourage anyone to attend an event like this one. It opens eyes and hearts to a cause that is so very solvable. No one should have to go hungry. It is as simple as that. I am making efforts to donate regularly and I am learning what foods to purchase and that help save resources and that help support Oxfam and organizations like it to provide food for the world. We can all play a part. Remember those with hunger pains here and around the world.