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Banquet-goers go hungry to raise awareness, combat poverty

February 17th, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

By McCall Bulloch

LOGAN—USU’s Students Together Ending Poverty will serve up its annual Hunger Banquet on Wednesday, and many will leave hungry, guilty or inspired.

Banquet director Sarah Menlove, a sophomore journalism major, said the purpose of the event is to raise awareness about global poverty while also providing students with a small taste of the disparity people throughout the world feel every day.

“Even if it’s just for the few hours they’re here, people walk out with a new outlook on life,” she said.

Banquet participants receive a colored ticket, with each color divvied out in proportions similar to global statistics to place the individual diners in upper-, middle- or lower-class groups. Participants are then fed a meal according to the socio-economic class they received.

This year, the lower class will eat a single serving of rice and beans with their hands as they sit on the floor. The middle class is offered chairs and several slices of pizza, and the few who are placed into the higher class eat the best, seated at a table for a full three-course meal of salad, rolls, roast beef, potatoes and cheesecake.

Kiri Higham attended the banquet last year with her roommates and was the only one placed into the upper class.

“At first I was very excited and kept rubbing it in my roommates’ faces that I was getting food,” Higham said. “As we began to eat though, I felt very guilty watching them especially because I wasn’t allowed to give them any of it.”

Although most of the people attending the event may leave on empty stomachs, the banquet also provides African dancers and drummers, as well as a motivational speaker.

The STEP organization also reaches out by volunteering at homeless shelters, the Family and Child Support Center, and families experiencing economic hardships.

STEP volunteer Kaela Baucom said helping out makes her happier.

“If you don’t want to pay the five dollars to get in, but still want to be involved, we are always looking for more volunteers,” she said. “It feels great to know that I’m adding my contribution to those less fortunate then me.”


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