Thunder Mountain High School students will be hosting a hunger banquet on Saturday — and while it sounds counterintuitive on the surface, the event raises funds and food donations along with a hefty dose of education.
The banquet is at 6 p.m. on Saturday at TMHS, $5 or two cans of food to get in the door. Once inside, guests will draw the name of a country — a well-developed country, a middle-class developing country or an under-developed country — and they will eat accordingly.
“You might get to eat a four-course meal or you might get rice,” said Kristin Garot, TMHS Model UN club adviser. “The goal is to educate people about issues related to poverty across the world. So students will be doing presentations and talking about different issues related to that.”
Students involved are those in the TMHS Model UN club or in the National Honor Society — about 20 youth.
The event also will include a guest speaker — a teacher who recently returned from serving in the Peace Corps in China. He will relay his experiences with poverty and hunger there.
“The idea is you’re learning about the world and the issues of poverty that then impact issues like hunger,” Garot said.
Part of the club’s mission is studies of countries across the globe and issues impacting them — including poverty and hunger.
“We started it last year,” Garot said. “It was kind of my idea to start it. We study these other countries. I wanted us to do a service project related to the topics we were talking about. I wanted to focus on our Juneau community as well. We found out the kids liked it and wanted to try it again.”
Last year there was a twist to the dinner. For example, if you drew a card representing a middle-class country, halfway through the meal there would be a “natural disaster” — like a storm could take out your entire field of crops or your home could be destroyed — and then your meal would shift to the lower tier.
Garot said that was to show how transient and easy it is to go from being stable to struggling. Something similar is expected to happen with this year’s event.
“Things they hadn’t thought about before just coming to the forefront of their mind,” Garot said. “It’s an interactive evening and just kind of an interesting experience I think.”
The entrance fee and food donations will go to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank in Juneau. Last year they raised $250 and some food. Garot said she hopes this year they get more food donations than money, although cash donations are more than welcome. Garot said they’re not sure if they will take dollar donations to purchase more food to donate or if they will simply donate the cash.
“I know they want to fill Thanksgiving baskets,” Garot said. “Things that would go in a Thanksgiving meal to supplement turkey — canned vegetables, mashed potatoes. Any non-perishable Thanksgiving food would be great.”
Garot said this event is great for families.
“Last year we had some families with some young kids and I think they appreciated the information and the experience,” she said.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.