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Hunger Banquet to Drive Home Realities of Hunger and Poverty

September 24, 2002 — Have you ever gone to bed wondering what you would eat the following day? Have you ever awakened the next morning knowing that there was nothing to eat?

On a global level, hunger continues to plague an estimated 800 million people, including 31 million in the United States. Of the 24,000 people worldwide who die daily from lack of adequate food and nutrition, 18,000 are children age five and under. Yet 15 percent of the world’s population consumes 78 percent of the earth’s resources.

To raise the awareness of these and other poverty issues, an OxFam Hunger Banquet, sponsored by the Bennion Center, will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 7:30 p.m., in the Gould Auditorium, located in the Marriott Library on the U of U campus. Tickets can be obtained from the Bennion Center, located in the Olpin Union Building, for $5 or for five cans of food. Proceeds will benefit Utah’s hungry.

The OxFam banquet will provide an interactive world hunger experience for participants and will explore avenues to combat hunger in the local community and on a global level. Gina Cornia, executive director for Utahns Against Hunger, will address the gathering. In anticipation of the evening meal, participants are encouraged to skip lunch that day. Chartwells is donating the food for the banquet.

Strategically scheduled just before the holiday season, the banquet is designed to help develop an understanding of global poverty issues-hunger, lack of education and health care and the inequitable distribution of global resources. The banquet is also being held because reserves at the Utah Food Bank are at their lowest during this time of the year. “We are confident that attending the OxFam Banquet will transform participants’ behavior and influence the way they vote, spend money, educate others and give to welfare organizations. Hunger and poverty are not inevitable. Change will come about only through our efforts as individuals. We must understand that our role in the global community requires us to be compassionate citizens,” states event planner Paul Arnold.

Food collected for this event will be donated to the Utah Food Bank, a non-profit agency that distributes goods to all 70 Utah food pantries that service more than 200 agencies. (Agencies served by the pantries respond to more than 73,000 Utahns who request emergency service monthly. One-third of these people are children.)

Information on local community volunteer opportunities will be provided at the banquet. Those in attendance will learn more about “Work a Day for the Poor,” a project where participants voluntarily pledge to give one-day’s wages to OxFam, an international organization creating lasting solutions to poverty, suffering, injustice and world hunger in more than 80 countries.

For more information on the OxFam Hunger Banquet call 581-4811.