Students experience food inequality firsthand during Hunger Banquet

Three campus groups joined forces Tuesday night to give students a firsthand perspective on the global and local fight against poverty.

LINK, Hands for the Homeless and the Butler Service and Leadership Center co-sponsored the second annual Hunger Banquet to raise money and get students involved in community service opportunities across campus.

To give students a firsthand taste of the inequality that exists around the globe, participants were randomly assigned to one of three income classes. Three of the participants were placed in the wealthiest part of the society and ate from fine china; 16 guests ate only small amounts of food, and sat on the floor.

“We’re trying to have an interactive experience and we’re hoping that people will be motivated to work on these social issues,” said Brittany Lambert, a co-chair of LINK.

Approximately 40 people took part in Tuesday’s banquet, bringing in $210 for the event. Organizers expected to receive additional donations after the dinner.

All proceeds will benefit Heifer International, a charity that battles hunger and poverty worldwide. Last year’s event raised more than $2,000 for the group.

Two activists also spoke at the event about their experiences fighting poverty and hunger.

Daniella Levine, executive director of the Human Services Coalition, spoke about her work fighting poverty present in Miami. She told the audience that the key to eliminating poverty in their own neighborhoods is to renew their commitment to interact with all members of the community, not just those of similar economic means.

“I believe that it’s important for us to really get to know others people; that is what deepens our desire to contribute [to our communities],” she said.

Miriam Bernard, a representative from Heifer International spoke next, describing the group’s worldwide efforts to alleviate the cycle of poverty. Heifer supplies impoverished communities with the training and supplies necessary to begin producing their own food.

“[Bernard] really drove home the point with her experiences and passion,” Paulo Pires, a senior, said.

Pires said that the event had motivated him to get involved in community service at UM. He did not specify how he planned on getting involved.

James Remeika may be contacted at