Awareness of hunger gets down to beans, water

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2001

Do you sit on the floor and gobble without utensils - or dine in a leisurely manner at a table, with solicitous waiters, fine linens and cutlery?

The question is answered by where in the world you were born and what socio-economic class you grew up in, says Students for Social Responsibility and Mediation. The group of Juneau-Douglas High School students is hosting a hunger banquet to demonstrate the not-so-tasty specifics of world poverty, in honor of World Hunger Awareness Month.

The banquet will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Northern Light United Church, 400 11th St. Cost of the meal is $1 or the equivalent in canned food, which will be donated to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank.

"This is an interactive hunger event," said Leslie Kupper, a Jesuit volunteer at JDHS. "You walk in and you get a number - 1, 2 or 3. The numbers are representative of the main economic classes of people in the world. There will be 15 No. 1s, 25 No. 2s, and 60 No. 3s. Those with No. 1 will dine on a meal prepared by Rainbow Foods from organic ingredients. They'll have attractive place settings, and will be served."

Soup or a stir-fry with plenty of protein, salad and homemade bread will comprise the menu, said Amy Fassold, a Vista volunteer who works with Students for Social Responsibility. Christy Smith, Jackie Mercado and Chris Lee are the chief movers behind the hunger banquet, Fassold said, and about 20 additional SSR members will attend the event to serve and coordinate.

Those with No. 2 will have service, but their plates will be chipped and mismatched. They will dine on well-seasoned rice and beans.

No. 3s will serve themselves unseasoned rice and water. "They have no plates," Kupper said. "They dish their rice onto tortillas, and ideally, they should sit on the ground."

"The idea is, just as it is truly random luck what number you pick, it is random what country or class you are born into," Kupper said.

"It's an experiential kind of thing," Fassold added.

During the banquet, guest speakers will provide food for thought. Entertainment begins at 7, and includes a high school band and a choir. Reservations should be phoned to Fassold at 463-1900, extension 400.

To learn more about world hunger, browse the Oxfam Web site listed under Hot Links at

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.

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