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Ohio Wesleyan Hunger Banquet to Provide Food for Thought
Dec. 3 Event to Illustrate Issues of World Hunger, Poverty

November 30, 2009

President Rock Jones serves bowls of rice to 2008 Hunger Banquet participants who were randomly selected to represent the world’s poorest citizens. Sponsored by ProgressOWU, the 2009 Hunger Banquet will be held December 3.
Photo by Shade Fakunle ’10
DELAWARE, OH – On Dec. 3, Ohio Wesleyan University will hold a Hunger Banquet to raise awareness about world poverty and hunger.

As people enter the banquet, they will be given slips of paper that identify their socioeconomic class. The type and quantity of food they receive will reflect their status, with the goal of bringing world poverty and hunger into sharp focus.

The 15 percent of banquet attendees who represent the upper class will enjoy a “sumptuous four-course, fully catered meal.” The 30 percent who represent the middle class will be permitted to wait in line and serve themselves rice and beans. The remaining 60 percent, who represent the world’s poor, will be served from a soup-style kitchen, receiving only water and a single scoop of rice that they must eat while seated on the floor.

The event is sponsored by Progress OWU, a student organization that seeks to raise awareness about local, national, and international issues of human rights and human dignity. Mary Slebodnik, a sophomore from Utica, Ohio, is helping to coordinate the Hunger Banquet.

“This is an especially fitting message for the beginning of December, as the holidays are coming up with their spirit of giving,” Slebodnik said. “I hope students and members of the OWU and Delaware community come away from this with a better understanding of how hunger, and other challenges to survival as a result of poverty, affect people in this world, and I hope the Hunger Banquet shows them ways they can help ease the affliction of poverty in the lives of others, locally and internationally.”

The Hunger Banquet will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Benes Rooms of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave. Admission is $3 or three canned goods per person to benefit the Columbus Open Shelter. Tickets will be available at the door. The public is encouraged to attend.

The event is based on OxFam America’s role-playing dramatization “The Hunger Banquet.” Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization committed to creating lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice.

Sean Kay, Ph.D., professor of politics and government and chair of the International Studies Program, will serve as the evening’s keynote speaker.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 45 states and 57 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.