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Hunger Banquet draws awareness

Photo by Marisa Barish. The "Cafeteria" meal was one of three varieties of meals assigned to guests at the Hunger Banquet. The other two options were the "Yacht Club" meal, a multi-coursed meal, and the "Refugee Camp" meal, which consisted of rice and water.

Social Justice’s annual Hunger Banquet, which was held Nov. 19, brought students together to learn about and discuss the ever-present issues of hunger and homelessness.

The event centered around a meal which varied depending on which group guests were seated at. Entering guests were asked to draw a slip of paper which determined where they were allowed to dine at; ‘Yacht Club,’ ‘Cafeteria’ or ‘Refugee Camp.’ The meals for each group reflected their names. Yacht Club members were served plated dinners with salad and a slice of pie, Cafeteria members received boxed lunches and Refugee Camp members were served only rice and water. In addition, members of each group were asked to only interact with each other.

As guests dined, members of Social Justice displayed boxes with facts about hunger and homelessness taped to their sides. These facts addressed not only world issues but also issues here in Fargo-Moorhead. The boxes themselves, in the spirit of the subject, were recycled from an area dumpster.

Social Justice also invited Eric Hatch, director of Homeless and Hungry, to speak during the meal. The speech centered on his experience with hunger and homelessness and the idea of service.

“When you know somebody, everything changes,” Hatch said.

Hatch shared two anecdotes; the story of a young Haitian boy living in an overcrowded orphanage and that of a homeless man living in Fargo. The stories brought tears to the eyes of several of the guests.

“This isn’t about feeling guilty,” Hatch said.

He insisted that instead it was about using what you have to help others rather than feeling guilty about having it.

After the dinner, members of the refugee camp were invited to join the cafeteria and yacht club groups to participate in discussion of the speaker and hunger issues in general. They were also invited to eat full meals, extras from the other groups, like everyone else.

“I think we really did have a good conversation,” said Emily Kimball, a junior and co-coordinator for Social Justice.

Photo by Melisa Barish. Sophomore Jared Hernandez enjoys his "Yacht Club" meal at the Social Justice Hunger Banquet Nov. 19.

Blake MacKenzie, senior and also co-coordinator in Social Justice, gave some insight during the discussion about what students can do to help the homeless and hungry.

“As students, it’s important to focus on the gift we’ve been given with our education,” MacKenzie said.

He said that students at Concordia have the ability to go far in the world and that they can then use what they earn to help others.

The banquet marked the end of Social Justice’s unit on hunger and homelessness. Their next unit will be on consumerism.

Social Justice, as an organization, falls under the Campus Ministry Commission. The group takes on social and political issues in a religious context. They hold awareness events, like the Hunger Banquet, service events and stress reflection after events.

Social Justice’s next event in planning is a fundraiser for the group Heifer International. Heifer collects funds and purchases livestock for needy families in developing countries. The livestock is not intended to be used as meat but rather to breed more livestock and to provide a sustainable solution to hunger. The theme for this event will be filling the stable. The theme is based off of the Christian manger scene, which generally includes animals alongside the image of baby Jesus. Social Justice expects to have a table up in the Centrum some time after the Thanksgiving break.

Overall, the hunger banquet was a small event, but the students who were there really want to make a difference. Krista DiLorenzo, a junior who attended the banquet, explained how she felt after the event.

“I just want to go look up things I can do,” DiLorenzo said.

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