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News & Stories: 2008-09

Students break bread for poverty, AIDS November 6, 2008

More than 70 students contemplated global issues of AIDS and poverty at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 4, in the Chapel Undercroft at the “Broken Bread Meal,” hosted by three Calvin student organizations:  InterVarsity Mission Fellowship, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and the International Health and Development (IHD) organization. The event is a program through the World Vision, Inc. Acting on Aids campaign.

Bring your own bowl

Photo of students praying at Broken Bread Meal Students who attended the Broken Bread Meal were encouraged to fast all or part of the day of the event and to bring their own bowl for the meal. They gathered in groups of six to eight around several rugs on the floor to eat.

The event began with a three-minute YouTube video by World Vision, explaining the significance of the meal. The narrator explained that when you break bread with others you stand in solidarity with them.

Simple staple

Students were directed to form a single-file line to the serving table and to observe silence. They were served a soy-corn blend, which is a staple of food-distribution programs around the world targeting those in poverty and those affected by HIV or AIDS. The students were handed cards to read, each with a different story about an individual’s struggle with HIV/AIDS or poverty. Both cards and meal were provided by World Vision.

After eating the meal in silence, students were prompted to discuss what they had read and to close in prayer. The small conversations segued into a group discussion. One student commented that we are richly blessed in the United States; another student framed the issue of nation’s copious wealth differently: “God is furious at us.”

Fostering conversation

Co-chair of the SJC, Rebecca Garofano, noted that the students who participated in the meal approached the issues from different perspectives, understandings and motivations: “This fostered a rather thoughtful and, I think, healthy conversation,” she explained. “It was great to observe this process, to see a group of students coming together around this issue.”

The event closed with members from the organizations outlining opportunities for students to get involved with social justice issues on the Calvin campus, within the Grand Rapids community and at the global level.

Bekah Sauers, an SJC member, encouraged students to get involved in Grand Rapids: “I hope students were able to realize that there is more to justice than reading and learning about these things,” said Sauers. "Action is a must. Writing a congressman or even stepping outside of your comfort zone to help the hungry or illiterate right here in Grand Rapids is necessary.”

Connecting every day

"My hope is that the individuals who came see this event as either the initiation of or part of a longer conversation,” said Garofano. “My hope is that they continue to revisit this issue of hunger. That they continue making themselves aware of it, seeking to recognize how they can be involved and connecting this issue with how they live every day.”

~by Katie Landan, communications and marketing

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