Thanks to Oxfam America, CCBC Dundalk students will get a chance Thursday, April 25 to experience firsthand how our decisions affect global hunger and the lives of millions in a unique and memorable experience: the Oxfam Hunger Banquet.
The event, which runs from 4:00 – 5:30 pm, takes place at Building G, Room 100. There is no admission charge, but donations are strongly encouraged. All proceeds go directly to support the work of Oxfam America as a catalyst for change in impoverished communities, through advocacy at all levels of society.
Toni Aho, Assistant Director of Student Life, Leadership & Civic Engagement for CCBC, describes what to expect. Participants will receive a “character card” which determines their status for the evening: low-income, middle-income, or high-income.
Those in the high-income group will dine at tables and receive a full meal;Those in the middle group will eat rice and beans with water, while sitting in chairs with no table, and those in the low group will sit on the floor and serve themselves small portions of only rice, says Aho.
The percentage of people in each group will correspond to the global statistics on poverty and hunger, she explains.
Further, the character cards will give each person an identity within their assigned status, including a name, country of origin, and a few details about their story, she says. Later in the event, some individuals’ characters will experience “twists of fate”–either a positive opportunity or a misfortune, impacting their economic situation–and they will have to switch groups, she explains.
According to Oxfam, the design of the event invites participants to see that “no one can choose the circumstances into which they are born. Some people have the good fortune to change their lives for the better, but for most, the circumstances of life are determined by factors outside of their control.”
The event also will include a slide show presentation featuring student volunteer work with a cattle herding group in Niger, Aho says, along with discussion, and a silent auction of unique handmade items from the global artisan cooperative Ten Thousand Villages, food will be provided by Sodhexo.
The Hunger Banquet is held annually at CCBC with each campus taking a turn in holding the event, according to Aho. This is the first time for Dundalk. Past Hunger Banquets have helped individuals have a realization about what world hunger is, Aho said. “When the ‘aha!’ moments start and people say, ‘what can I do?’ that’s when we have opportunity to tell people how they can make a difference.”
CCBC Student Sana Raja writes of her experience at the first CCBC Oxfam America Hunger Banquet in April 2011, “It was an eye-opening and a sobering experience as I have never had to skip a meal because there wasn’t enough to eat.”
Raja continues “I can set out to change the world but I think I can be most effective by doing my part. Spreading awareness about the hunger and participating in events like this can help a bit.”
This is one of many events at CCBC that helps fight hunger. During Spring Break, the CCBC Dundalk men’s baseball team, with guidance from CCBC Communications Professor Michael Walsh and the international organization Stop Hunger Now, purchased and assembled 10,000 nutritious food packets to be distributed to those in need, with plans to expand the project to include more campus group participation, reports Nicole Rodman of The Dundalk Eagle.
Oxfam America was founded in 1970 to help those suffering in the wake of the humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh.
Admission is free, but a donation of $5 or more is encouraged. All proceeds will be donated to Oxfam America.
If you cannot attend the banquet, you can still get involved by contacting Toni Aho, at email@example.com, or stop by Student Life, for more information about Oxfam, donating, or volunteer opportunities. You also can find tons of volunteer opportunities at: http://actfast.oxfamamerica.org/
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