Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hunger Banquet

Have you ever been to one? Have you ever hosted one? Have you ever heard of one? Doesn't sound very appetizing, does it? Hunger Banquet. I would love to attend one sometime (I just found out a school locally hosted one a couple months ago and I missed it!). I would love for my kids to go to one. What is it?

(taken from OxFam
Unique and memorable, an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet event allows organizers and participants alike to experience firsthand how our decisions affect others in the world.

How it works
Guests draw tickets at random that assign them each to either a high-, middle-, or low-income tier and receive a corresponding meal. The 15 percent in the high-income tier are served a sumptuous meal. The 35 percent in the middle-income section eat a simple meal of rice and beans. The 50 percent in the low-income tier help themselves to small portions of rice and water. (High-, middle-, and low-income statistics used in the Oxfam America Hunger Banquet event are based on the World Bank Development Indicators 2007.) Guests can also assume characterizations that describe the situation of a specific person at the income level to which they've been assigned. Finally, all guests are invited to share their thoughts after the meal.
After an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet event, few participants leave with full stomachs, but all possess a greater understanding of the problems of hunger and poverty and will hopefully be motivated to do something about them.

I have thought, from time to time, about having our family eat the kind of food that people in some of the poorer countries eat - for at least a week . . . and no snack foods available. Well . . . maybe at least for 2 or 3 days (I don't want Social Services knocking on my door thinking I'm a negligent mother because I'm feeding my kids beans and rice all week!). But I really want my kids to see and understand what it must be like for kids in other parts of the world. You can see a picture, but until you live it - it doesn't really affect you. I would love to take them on some mission trips - to REALLY experience other cultures. But until that time, I will use the resources that I have available.

Here is one that I like for my older kids especially. Oxfam America has an online, "Interactive Hunger and Poverty Educational Experience". It is called "A Seat at the Table" It can really open your eyes (and that of your kids) as to the kind of issues that people in other countries have to face regarding their finances, food, health, etc. It humbles me every time. I encourage you to check it out. Maybe it will encourage you or your kids to host a Hunger Banquet in your area (or something similar).

Here's another great Charity doing great things . . . started by a rich young man from NY who had an experience - as a photojournalist aboard the Mercy Ships and a trip to Africa. It forever changed his life and the lives of countless others with what he decided to do! You can read all about his story and what they are doing at Charity:water. My sister briefly volunteered in their office in NY after meeting this man in a coffee shop (I believe).

Well folks . . . speaking of food and water . . . it's about dinner time here and I am going to get creative with the leftovers I have in my pantry. I've been putting off going to the store for a while . . . so we'll see what I can come up with. :) I like doing that from time to time. You'd be amazed at how long the food in your pantry can feed you . . . though the combinations might not be that delicious or that nutritious . . . but it's better than rice and water!!

Blessings to you all!!

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