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Calvin To Host Hunger Banquet
November 14 , 2006

During the Thanksgiving season, two Calvin College student organizations are teaming up to host a feast of an unusual nature. Beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 17, Calvin’s Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and the Intervarsity Mission Fellowship (IMF) will serve a hunger banquet at Woodlawn Ministry Center. Tickets are $3.

“It’s a meal, but you may not get a whole meal out of it, depending on how we label you when you walk in the door,” said junior Amy Jonason, SJC co-chair and one of the coordinators of the event. “You’ll be low, middle or high income, and that determines everything from where you sit to what you eat for the rest of the evening.”

The hunger banquet, an event the SJC borrowed from Oxfam America, a nationwide anti-poverty organization, is designed to demonstrate the stark disparities in incomes levels internationally.

“It makes the problems of hunger and poverty a little bit more identifiable and closer to home,” Jonason said. “We live in a situation where we don’t have to confront that every day, and it’s easy to forget how much we have compared to other people all around the world.”

Jonason is keeping the details of the banquet—specifically, what is on the three menus—very quiet, but she was forthcoming about the program for the event. An emcee will share the back stories of members of the various income classes at the event, narrating how a person’s life circumstances can lead them to a daily diet of steak…or rice.

Peter Vander Meulen, the coordinator of the office of social justice and hunger action at the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), will give the keynote address at the event.

Jonason is excited about the SJC’s collaboration with Intervarsity: “I think that they help another set of people get interested in the event who normally don’t come to Social Justice events. It’s pretty cool. Together, we reach a pretty broad proportion of the Calvin community.”

Senior Melody Joachim, an IMF leader and banquet coordinator, agreed. “Intervarsity is concerned with missions and getting students involved with missions even while they’re on campus,” she said. “So with the hunger banquet, we’re trying to get students involved in the social justice aspect of missions. I think we have a lot of similar goals with the SJC in trying to make people aware of what God is doing in the world and what we can be doing. This is an awareness event, and that’s the first step to getting people involved.”

~written by marketing and communications staff writer Myrna Anderson