Hunger Banquet to Simulate Disparities in Socioeconomic Class

Each person who walks through the door of the Oxfam Hunger Banquet will be handed a lottery ticket that will determine their socioeconomic class for the night.

The event will be hosted by Andie Pinga ’19 and Mangai Sundaram ’19, the co-heads of the Andover FoodMatters Club. It will be free to all members of the Andover community and is set to be held on Friday, February 2. The goal of the event is to bring awareness to class discrepancies worldwide and the ways in which they impact nutrition.

“The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is an interactive activity where participants are randomly given a ticket that assigns them to a socioeconomic class: lower, middle, or upper. The amount of [food], the kind of food, and the way their meal is set up is based on the ticket they receive,” said Mudmee Sereeyothin ’20, a board member of FoodMatters.

Sereeyothin said, “I believe Andie, one of the co-heads, participated in a hunger banquet for her Non Sibi Day event last year… I think she wanted to organize a banquet that is open to the whole [Andover] community so we can get more people to think and talk about the issues of food insecurity [and] malnutrition.”

This event was organized with Oxfam, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the eradication of poverty and sponsors hunger banquets in many different communities. Oxfam will supply the food, flyers, and other provisions for the banquet. Andover’s event will feature guest speaker Christina Berthelsen, a representative from Neighbors in Need, a nonprofit organization based in Lawrence.

Sereeyothin said, “[We] just want people to appreciate what we have and be conscious of the prevalent issue of food insecurity that exists outside the ‘Andover Bubble.’”

Sam Katz ’19, another FoodMatters board member, expressed agreement with this statement and said that on campus, privilege is often discussed in terms of identity. According to Katz, it is possible to lose sight of the impact that privilege has on access to basic necessities like food.

“We are trying to make it so people realize and are cognizant of these privileges they have…  So often privileges chalk up to an identity-based thing, but then there are other facets [where] something as simple in someone’s life as food is not something that everyone has,” said Katz.

Board member Hywot Ayana ’20 thinks that hunger can be easily overlooked on campus, with access to Paresky Commons and the amenities that it offers. She would like participants in the hunger banquet to feel like they have a part to play in working towards ending hunger.

In an email to The Phillipian, Ayana wrote, “We talk a lot about the ‘Andover Bubble’… It can become really easy for issues to feel like they are far away or out of your control. We hope that, through the hunger banquet, Andover students feel like they have a part to play in solving issues stemming from hunger.”

Editor’s Note: Andie Pinga  is a Managing Editor for The Phillipian.