In time for the holiday season, the Office of Civic Engagement hosted an event to raise awareness of local poverty issues. The event was held at the Alford Ballroom of Atheneum Hall on Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m.
According to Coastal Connections, “the Oxfam Hunger Banquet is an interactive event that brings hunger and poverty issues to life. This event demonstrates how food and other resources are inequitably distributed in the world.”
The event was open to students, faculty, and staff. Upon arrival, attendees drew a ticket at random to determine whether they would be seated according to the upper, middle, or lower income group. The faux class designation was used to assign a proportionate meal to each attendee.
Aramark provided food for the event. The upper class had salad, lasagna, water and tea. The middle class received rice and beans with water, and women were instructed to eat after the men. The low class had a small amount of rice with water.
Michael Tyler owns and operates Meals on Wheels of Horry County and is the founder of Hunger Crusaders. Meals on Wheels is a mobile truck that serves home-bound senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and those who cannot cook for themselves. Hunger Crusaders is a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading the love and message of Jesus Christ by providing hot meals to people in need. Tyler spoke to the audience about hunger in Horry County.
“I’ve been helping put a stop to hunger for a year, and the only thing that keeps me going is seeing God’s work,” Tyler said. “There have been days where we didn’t have enough food at Meal on Wheels, but God made a way.”
Educational engagement at the event was hosted through cellphones: by texting a five-digit number, event attendants received information on international socioeconomic struggles. Names, photographs, and demographic backgrounds were provided along with the information.
Jakayla Booker, a senior psychology major, was moved by the event.
“This experience was a true eye-opener for me because I was able to learn about different struggles of different cultures that people deal with on a daily basis,” said Brooks.