Hunger banquet on year-long hiatus


File Photo

Emma James, a junior psychology major, and Stacy McQueen, parent of Lauren McQueen, serve apples, oranges, and bananas at the “Hunger is Not a Game” banquet on Nov. 12, 2014 at the Newman Catholic Center.

T'Nerra Butler, Multicultural Editor

For years, the Hunger Banquet has tried to serve as an awareness event on the topic of starvation, and this year those who usually participate in it tell why they did not plan for the affair.

The Haiti Connection usually has the banquet the third week of November, but instead they cancelled it and planned a trivia night.

Ivy Handley, a junior special education major, is a member of the Haiti Connection and said one reason students did not do the banquet was because students would only show up for the extra credit. Handley said a student would walk in, get their extra credit and five minutes later they would leave.

“I don’t know if they would have come if they just knew about it,” Handley said. “I don’t know how much people really got out of it.”

Handley said the banquet had many advantages; she said it helped people to realize some do not know what their next meal is. She said often Americans forget how fortunate they are and something like the Hunger Banquet helps them to be humble.

“Even if you pray for these people it helps to recognize that there are people who have it worse than you,” Handley said. “We are walking in solidarity with our citizens in Haiti.”

Roxanne Sorci, the president of the Haiti Connection, said the organization wanted to take a break on the Hunger Banquet to focus on raising money for projects they do in Haiti.

During the trivia night, they raised over $2,000.

Although Sorci said the main focus is not gaining money at the Hunger Banquet, she said last year’s banquet raised $70 compared to this year’s money at the trivia night.

“We wanted more of a fundraiser because with the Hunger Banquet we don’t raise a lot of funds our goal is to raise awareness,” Sorci said.

One of the projects they do is taking a family out of poverty and helping them build a home.

Sorci said even though the community did not see a Hunger Banquet this year, they can expect one next year. She said hunger is a situation people cannot take lightly and the organization would not either.

“The Hunger Banquet draws attention to something that doesn’t really get a lot of attention,” Sorci said. “I feel that not a lot of students know that people around the world actually go to sleep hungry.”

Roy Lanham, the advisor for the Haiti connection, said back in 1990 the students from the Haiti Connection brainstormed a way to gain awareness about hunger related issues and poverty. He said the first the banquet was in the basement of Andrews Hall.

The event was moved from place to place and one year the banquet was cancelled because of limited space, Lanham said.

The concept of the Hunger Banquet is to show community members, students and faculty and staff how it would be to live an impoverished lifestyle.

He said people simulating the second world would have limited food and those in the third world countries would have rice and water.

At first this event was held as a fundraiser, Lanham said, but as time went on it was implemented just to bring awareness.

“Things were going good for a while,” Lanham said. “But when you’re maintaining things they begin to get stale and that’s exactly what happened.”

After the years went by the students sought out for a change and came up with the idea of a market place. Students would get a storyline and many of the scenarios include participants getting a small amount of money and figuring out how to make it stretch.


T’Nerra Butler can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]