The University of Illinois Springfield Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center hosted the 5th annual Oxfam America Hunger Banquet in the Student Life Building Gym on Monday, November 16, 2009.
The featured speaker at the event was Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and author of the book “All You Can Eat”. Berg spoke on campus during National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week.
“The reason we’re hosting it is on campus we’re trying to highlight that 1 in 6 individuals in the world today suffers from hunger, so we want to really raise awareness on our campus about hunger and homelessness,” said Kelly Thompson, director of the UIS Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center.
UIS student volunteers helped to organize the Hunger Banquet where participants were broken up into different groups. Students that were selected to be low-income ate on the floor only receiving rice, while those selected to be higher income ate at the table.
“I am one of those children that came from a poverty stricken neighborhood, so I think giving back to the community is a very good thing,” said Monique Johnson, UIS sophomore social work major.
Berg says raising awareness about hunger is key to stopping the problem, but that’s not all that needs to be done.
“We really strongly believe that in New York City or here in downstate Illinois you cannot end this problem with just a little more charity alone. You need government leadership and a change in our economic policies,” said Berg.