Hunger Banquet:

Hunger is not a game


Jordan Gay| The Daily Eastern News Casandra Kasprowicz, a junior communication disorders and sciences major, serves rolls at the "Hunger is Not a Game" banquet Wednesday in the Newman Catholic Center.

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

A 40-year-old Bangladeshi woman has to survive off $20 in order to feed her three children and husband.

Sana lives in a rural area with conservative religious laws and cultural prejudices, which limit her opportunities as a woman.

Sana, was portrayed by Zach Booth, a sophomore communications studies, for the Hunger Banquet Wednesday in the Newman Catholic Center Basement.

Booth said Sana goes out of her way to try and sustain her way of living. He said so far everything has gone decently, but he is unsure of how things would go when the children get hungry again, and that it is a never ending cycle.

This is the first time Booth has come to the hunger banquet and it is an experience he was not ready for.

“They’re not even eating (meals). It’s just something to get you by—I’m eating three meals a day and they’re eating portions,” Booth said.

Booth said this event tells a different story showing people must do whatever they can to get through life. He added he even had to steal to get food.

“That’s a lesson within itself,” Booth said.

Over 100 students participated in the banquet, which had a Hunger Games theme with each marketplace stall being called a district and number. The stalls went up to district eight each serving a different food such as fruit, chicken, or rice. Students who worked the stalls were dressed in garb similar to those who live in other countries such as head wraps and long thin skirts.

Throughout the market, there were signs all over with hunger statistics; even a sign stating stealing would result in a $1 fine. Students who participated were also divided into groups holding passports each with a different identity to portray for the night.

For the hour, Ranjani, a 40-year-old Indian woman, was portrayed by Jay Garfield, a senior family consumer sciences major. Ranjani’s story was different than that of Booth’s character, Sana. Ranjani lives in a home with servants with her children attending India’s best private schools with the hope of moving to the United States.

Garfield said the banquet was not what he was expecting. He said he thought the event was going to be more educational than interactive. He said if he were not graduating he would have attended again.

Jenna Ebeling, a junior family consumer sciences major, was in Garfield’s group, and like him, this was her first time attending the banquet. Ebeling said some are luckier than others being both into families with wealth and then others are not, some may be blind to this sort of thing before participating in the event.

“It was a nice experience,” Ebeling said.

Both Garfield and Ebeling said the event put hunger and poverty in perspective showing that some may be more fortunate than others.

Roy Lanham, the director of Newman Catholic Center, said despite getting the food out for the event a little late, it was a great turn out. Lanham said he also enjoyed when those who stayed sat down and had a meal together.

“I’m excited about the fact that when they come they are together with people they don’t know and (must) figure out how to live,” Lanham said.

Lanham said he believed from the banquet, the students realized what it is like to live off of $7, which is not enough. He added the difficulties is not having food, but getting resources to have access to the food.

“I firmly believe that nobody wants a hand out. I believe everyone wants the access to get their own food,” Lanham said.

Students who attended the event could also donate. They made $69.61 with Dirty’s Bar and Grill as their sponsor.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected] .