Hunger Banquet: What’s on your Plate?

“What should I have for lunch today?” It’s a pretty simple question. If you are like most Americans, you will have no trouble accessing food. The biggest problem that this question poses for us is in terms logistics: When should I eat? What type of food do I want? Should I eat healthy, or should I order Wings over Charlottesville?

GlobeMed at UVa, organized a thought provoking banquet where the truth behind food disparity was brought up as a global issue. Here are some facts:

  • In the Asian, African and Latin American countries, well over 500 million people are living in what the World Bank has called “absolute poverty”
  • Every year 15 million children die of hunger
  • For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years
  • Nearly one in four people, 1.3 billion – a majority of humanity – live on less than $1 per day, while the world’s 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world’s people.

How can we accept these facts when most of us have never had suffered from hunger and/or malnutrition? The answer is easy, we eat like most of the world does!

The price of the hunger banquet was $3, participants did not know what they would be eating until they entered the room to be seated. By this time, the participants were assigned one of three labels: upper class, middle class, and low class.

  • The upper class represents around 5-10% of the world. They usually eat palatable three course meals in tables with silverware and refined drinks.
Upper Class Meal
  • The middle class represents around 25-35% of the world. Their usual meal is represented by rice, beans and water.
Middle Class Meal
  • The lower class represents around 55-60% of the world. Their usual caloric intake is scarce and is represented by bread and water. They also have no tables and/or silverware.
Lower Class Meal

GlobeMed members and students discussing the disparity between the different classes.

Hunger Banquet
Upper Class (right), Middle Class (left), Lower Class (center)

While everyone ate their food, Parth Shah and Denise Bakar gave a short presentation on hunger and malnutrition.

Parth Shah giving part of the presentation

“You guys have deepened your awareness of world hunger and poverty.The key is how you put this knowledge to use. Our Hunger Banquet ends here, but this is just the beginning for each of you. As I look around the room today, I can see that this experience has had an impact on many of you. If what you’ve learned or experienced has stirred something in you, take action now. Today. Before you leave.”

-Post by: David Vaamonde

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