On Friday, January 6, Bishop Ireton High School hosted the First Annual Hunger Banquet as a fundraiser for their sister school in Haiti, Louverture Cleary. Seventy five students, parents, and staff came to the Bishop Ireton cafeteria wondering how well they were going to be fed. Upon arrival, each person was randomly given a different colored ticket, which assigned them to a high, middle, or low income tier based on the latest world statistics about the number of people living in poverty. Each income level received a corresponding meal, filling and nutritious or sparse and simple. Each ticket also had a name and a biography of a real person who lives in Haiti.
About 15% percent of the participants received yellow ticket and they were the upper class. They sat at tables with table clothes, china and silverware. Waiters brought them a three course dinner of salad, casserole, vegetable, bread, and dessert. There was plenty of food left over after their meal. The orange ticket holders, roughly 35% of the participants, were the middle class who sat at long tables looking at the upper classes. Their meal was self-serve: rice and beans on paper plates and plastic utensils and a Dixie cupful of water. Everyone else (roughly 50%) was a red ticket holder and they were the lowest class. They sat crowded together on a center rug. They had to get a tray with a bowls of rice and paper plates. They were not given utensils and were allowed only one serving. Before the dinner began, several of the middle class folks suffered economic losses and were moved to the rug area. One “family” moved from the upper classes to the middle classes because one of them lost their job.
After the dinner, there was a lively discussion on hunger and poverty in the world. The hunger banquet was a powerful demonstration of the real problems that people face every day. The discussion focused on the importance of education as the long term solution to the complex problem of hunger and poverty. Education is everything. People in the United States need to be educated about hunger in order to have compassion and be energized to create change; and, education empowers people in poverty to improve their lives. The hunger banquet was a powerful demonstration of the real problems that people face every day and the event raised over $1000 for Louverture Cleary School in Croix de Bouquet, Haiti.