It’s funny that, in the proverbial land of plenty, nearly one in six Americans has to deal with hunger on a daily basis, a staggering statistic that highlights the often overlooked fact that poverty, homelessness, and hunger are all very real problems in the United States.
In an attempt to raise awareness about hunger in America and the world, the Southern Oregon University Civic Engagement Program will host an educational banquet on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m., in the Rogue River Room of the Stevenson Union as part of the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week. A suggested donation of $5 to $25 is recommended.
Sophia Mantheakis, the banquet organizer and Hunger and Homelessness alleviation coordinator, believes that hunger is traditionally downplayed and the effects have been underrepresented.
“Everyone deserves to eat,” she said.
The banquet illustrates this point by randomly assigning attendees as upper, middle, or lower class. Depending on which scenario you pull out of a hat, you may end up getting a three-course dinner served to you with fine china and table service, going through a buffet style dinner of beans and rice, or sitting on the floor to eat your dinner.
Proceeds from the event will go toward the Ashland Food Angels, a nonprofit organization that helps feed low-income people in the Rogue Valley, primarily by receiving food from markets and bakeries.
The Ashland Food Angels will be holding a silent auction during the event, and donations are encouraged.
Several other events are scheduled during the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week, including a community dialogue and video by the Peace House on the Cox Lawn, Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. regarding homelessness, camping, and city regulations.
Preparing 50,000 bags of donated food for the ACCESS Food Bank in Medford is another big activity, taking place on the Cox Lawn at 8 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 19. Volunteers must register in advance.
To participate on Saturday or for more information regarding Hunger and Homelessness Awareness week, contact Sophia Mantheakis at 552-8039 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.