December 5, 2011
Hunger-Banquet

Hunger Banquet: Student Leaders Tackle Hunger on College Campus

The Student Government Association (SGA) at the Front Range Community College Campus in Fort Collins is tackling a hidden issue on many college campuses: hunger. SGA was the host for a Hunger Banquet® to raise awareness and begin to stock a food pantry on campus. 9News covered the event and you can watch the news report in this video.

How a Hunger Banquet® works.

When you walk in the room you are assigned at random to be low income, middle income, or high income. You may or may not stay in your income bracket, depending on what transpires during a presentation. Then you eat. Low incomes eat plain rice with your hands while you are sitting on the floor. Middle incomes eat rice and beans with a fork. High incomes eat a restaurant-style three-course meal.

Being hungry and/or homeless are academic issues.

You can’t focus on studies or perform well in class when you’re hungry, when you didn’t get a good night’s sleep in a warm bed or have no place to live.

Hunger is a hidden problem in bountiful Colorado.

Through a number of sources – mostly faculty, staff, and students paying attention to each other – the Student Government on the Larimer Campus thinks there are 300 students on campus who are “food insecure.” Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the lack of access, at times, to enough food. In other words, maybe you ate yesterday or the day before, and you may eat again tomorrow, or maybe there isn’t always enough food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Back in the 1980s, I was chairman and a member of the board of directors of what is now the Food Bank for Larimer County. Today, I’m an occasional cook and dishwasher at The Mission in Fort Collins and a member of the board of directors of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver, which operates The Mission and four other homeless shelters, among many of its missions. I commend the Student Government Association for its leadership on campus. If you’re on campus, please drop off some non-perishable food items in the donation boxes placed around campus.

Have you ever been hungry, in the “food insecurity” sort of way? What should Student Government do?

About the author:

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College. He’s a retired soccer referee and newspaper editor whose subscription ran out.

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