Banquet teaches students about world hunger
November 25, 2008
By Nicole Gonzales
A group of sixth-graders got a taste of our world hunger problem today. College students hosted the hunger banquet, where the children split into three income levels and ate accordingly.
A Utah Food Bank representative spoke at the banquet this morning. She wanted the kids to walk away with an understanding that hunger isn't only happening in other countries, it's happening here in Salt Lake; and what better time to demonstrate than right before Thanksgiving?
A cup of rice is not exactly a Thanksgiving feast, but people around the world live off it every day.
"Rice isn't that much, and sometimes it's not really filling," said sixth-grader Hayle Kinikini.
It may not be fair either, but that was part of the lesson today at Westminster College. Sixth-graders from Beacon Heights Elementary participated in a hunger banquet, eating according to low, middle and high income levels.
"I was in the lower class, and all we got was a little cup of rice; and I was kind of jealous of the high class because they got spaghetti, my favorite food," Hayle said.
About 10 high-income students were served salad, breadsticks, pasta and dessert; all brought out by waiters.
The middle level, around 20 kids, ate rice and beans from a buffet. "I felt lucky because I actually had some food, and I had more food than the low-class. They only got rice," sixth-grader Emma Merrill said.
Most of the children, close to 30, were in that low-income group and lined up to eat white rice with their hands while sitting on the floor.
"Wow! Is this really how many people actually have to go through that?" Hayle asked.
Emma said, "I'm pretty sure everyone was pretty jealous of the high-class."
At such a young age, these children understand that times are tough.
"It's kind of scaring me a little bit about the economy right now," sixth-grader Andrew Dey said.
"Life isn't fair. Anything can happen that can change your life," Emma said.
Sympathy for those with less and appreciation for what you have: a lesson taught best through food.
"You see commercials to adopt a child because all she's eating is a scoop of rice a day. And when your lunch is a scoop of rice, and you see someone sitting at the next table with pasta, salad, dessert and punch, it really does bring it home," said Linda Hilton, with the Utah Food Bank.
The students also brought canned goods to donate to the Utah Food Bank.