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Oxfam Hunger Banquet To Be Held on Friday

At the Oxfam Hunger Banquet
At the Oxfam Hunger Banquet

The Keene State Community Service Office and the KSC Habitat for Humanity Chapter will be providing plenty of food for thought when it hosts the second annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet in the Mabel Brown Room on Friday. The event, which coincides with Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, begins at 6 p.m.

Guests are invited to take a seat at the table and gain a new perspective about the subject of hunger on a local and global scale. “It’s a good way to get members of the Keene State community to think about the problem of hunger and how it affects people in the country and around the world,” said Kya Roumimper, a junior from Manchester, who is the coordinator of events and advocacy in the KSC Community Service Office. “Students don’t have the opportunity to really focus on the issue of hunger. They go to the dining commons, swipe a card, and have this unlimited source of food.”

People who attend the Hunger Banquet will randomly be given a number from one to three. Just as in real life, where some of us are born into relative prosperity and others into poverty, each number will represent a specific socio-economic group. Those who draw the number one will represent the smallest percentage of people in the United States and the world – the upper class. Those people will sit in the high-class area with nice tables and chairs and will be served a catered three-course meal.

Attendees who are designated as number two will assume the role of the middle class. They will sit at a nondescript six-foot-long table and help themselves, cafeteria style, to a dish of hamburger helper. Lastly, people who draw the number three will represent the largest group in attendance – the poor or lower class. They will be given a meal consisting of tomato soup and relegated to sitting on the floor.

According to Roumimper, the event is scripted with many twist and turns. Diners will learn poignant and interesting facts concerning the issue of hunger and get to know about the problem from the vantage of each socio-economic group. People might also be asked to move to a different or lower group, replicating real life and financial instability when a loss of a job or a natural disaster can suddenly and unexpectedly cause a change in status. “It’s really an educational event,” said Roumimper. “We want people to show up, get a free meal, and educate themselves and learn what hunger looks like and ways people can change some of their habits to prevent the problem.” Roumimper said the week before Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season is a perfect time to remind people about the world-wide problem. “For most students, Thanksgiving is a good experience,” she said. “They go home to their families and have a great meal. But that’s not the case for a lot of people who can’t afford or don’t have access to the resources to provide their family with a Thanksgiving meal. That’s the point we’re trying to get across at the Hunger Banquet. We want people to not only conceptualize but understand the plight of the poor.”

Please email Lindsey Fuller (lindsey.fuller@keene.edu) to reserve your place at the table.

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