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December 1, 2000

Calvin Hosts Hunger Banquet

Two student organizations at Calvin College are teaming up to throw a spotlight on the problem of world hunger.

On Tuesday, December 5 (at 5 p.m.) the Environmental Stewardship Coalition and the Social Justice Committee at Calvin are co-sponsoring the second annual Hunger Banquet. The event will be held in the Uppercrust section of the Commons Dining Hall on campus.

Students who take part will be given a random number. That number will assign them to one of three "income levels" and that income level will determine what sort of meal they get. About 60-65 percent of the students will eat a meal of rice and water. About 25 percent will receive rice, water and beans. Those students will eat sitting on the floor. The final 10-15 percent will sit at tables where they will eat a four-course steak dinner, served by waiters. The proportions are intended to represent food distribution and hunger on a global basis.

Rachel Medema, a senior from Everett, Washington, is a member of the ESC and is helping coordinate the banquet. She acknowledges that the event will not give students a true understanding of how hungry much of the world's population is since even the students who get just rice and water are skipping only a single meal. But, she says, the event has value nonetheless. After the banquet, students will stay to learn more about world hunger, consumer habits and more.

"We hope," she says, "that students who take part will see how dramatic the difference is and be changed by the experience. The banquet can be an important time of teaching."

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Contact Phil de Haan.