Dozens of Drake University students will converge in Parents Hall in Olmsted Center on Wednesday to get a free meal and learn about how the world’s food is unevenly distributed.
The event is put on by ONE, an advocacy organization that fights against poverty and preventable diseases, and by the Oxfam International branch in Des Moines. The group works with a myriad of countries around the globe in an effort to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice issues.
“The point of the Hunger Banquet is to demonstrate how hunger power structures create unequal access to the food that does exist,” said senior Katie Bell, ONE co-president. “There is plenty of food in the world for everyone, but inequalities make it so that not everyone receives it.”
Bell said students who attend the event would be assigned a social class based on the number of students who attend. Most of the students will be placed in the lower class, a fewer number will be placed in the middle class and a couple students will be placed in the upper class. The upper class gets a full meal, whereas the lower class will get a very small meal.
“We’re hoping that students will get a first hand idea of how real hunger is in the sense that it isn’t a choice and people are born into poverty. That has real repercussions in multiple areas of their life,” Bell said.
While students eat, a member of Oxfam will discuss how and why this can happen in the world and what students can do to help them combat it.
The event is solely an awareness event and is free to all students. Last year, more then 30 students attended, but Bell is hoping to see that number swell to upwards of 80 participants. This event is one of ONE’s biggest events, second only to their World AIDS day events, which will take place Dec. 3-5 this year. The group also hosts various educational activities and letter writing sessions asking politicians to use the budget towards sustainable budget initiatives throughout the semester.
“Hopefully students will see that hunger inequalities exist and will feel empowered to help make a difference,” Bell said.