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Hunger Banquet: Awareness Made Local

A Report by Brianna Jackson, '16

A Smith student pulls cookies out of the oven. The fresh baked cookies later went to a shelter called Grove Street Inn as part of a student-led initiative to raise awareness about local hunger.

With so many people starving from unequal food distribution in the world, we find ourselves wondering if there is anything we can do personally to end the suffering. At the Oxfam Hunger Banquet, sponsored by Spirituality in Action and the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, participants will learn how they can end the cycle of injustice that perpetuates world hunger.

Oxfam America battles injustice because “in a world as rich as ours, many of us go hungry or don’t have clean water. Many of us can’t claim our human rights.” According to the Oxfam America website, “About 80 percent of the world’s hungry people live in rural areas, where most of them work as farmers, herders, fishers or laborers.” By improving conditions for these workers and empowering them to become more self-reliant, Oxfam believes these laborers and their families will one day live without hunger.

In giving of their time and resources, Smith students recognized and addressed the issue of hunger in their own community. On March 29, Smithies prepared and delivered a meal for the residents of the Grove Street Inn in Northampton, MA. The Grove Street Inn is a homeless shelter open year-round for all adults who need a place to stay. Despite the long hours preparing a meal of rich shepherd pie, salad and cookies, the volunteers’ compassion for the less fortunate urged them on. “Everyone should be able to eat,” said Joanna Kenneally ’16, who participated in this volunteer effort. Along with Interfaith Fellow Matilda Cantwell, the students gave hope to the victims to the unequal distribution of power inherent in work hunger.

Community-based food distribution helps ensure that those who are hungry in our community receive support from responsible organizations. At Smith, we have many community service-oriented groups to help fight hunger. The Smith College Food Recovery Network, for instance, is a new organization that fights dining hall food waste by redistributing extra food to hungry people in the area. The Hunger Banquet seeks to support efforts like these which restore justice and feed those who cannot feed themselves.

If you are not already upset by the corruption in the food system, attending the Hunger Banquet will spur you to question why almost one billion people go to bed hungry each night. Join us on Wednesday, April 9, at 5:30 p.m. at the Helen Hills Hills Chapel Sanctuary to learn more about how we can play a personal role in ending world hunger.
This program is sponsored as part of Interfaith Awareness Week. All donations go to local area survival shelters and Oxfam International.