In an effort to end world hunger, student clubs designed to enact change banded together to create awareness for their communities at the Winter 2018 Hunger Banquet. Although each club has a different approach to do such, all that attended this year’s banquet have the same goal: to raise awareness of the importance of fighting world hunger.
The different clubs set up booths to pass out pamphlets to get students to join their organization. To educate guests on the scope of world hunger, only four of all of the attendees were given food from Seven Brothers, while 15 people got rice and beans and the rest of the attendees got a spoonfull of rice with no utensils.
Saren Eastwood, a junior from Washington majoring in peacebuilding, was one of the few coordinators for the banquet. She helps with the banquet “to make people feel inspired and to know that we honestly are really blessed to be at this university, and even if its small, we can make a difference.”
Gabe Fryar, a sophomore from Pennsylvania majoring in peacebuilding and political science, is the president of a ONE. "It is a club that’s is all about political activism. Our motto is that we don’t want your money, we want your volunteerism and your time.
"We try and teach people how other people live. It's all about raising people's quality of life and sustainable development."
Ofa Moeai, a disability coordinator and clinical counselor at BYU-Hawaii, participated in the event, hoping to raise awareness for her services. She mentioned, "I like that the students here are all like-minded. They're really interested in helping people and celebrating diversity and kind of speaking up for, often times, people who don’t have a voice."
Colton McLane, a senior from D.C. majoring in peacebuilding and political science, is a member of the Arbinger club. He said, "Arbinger is just helping you to see people as they are. People are people, they have needs and desires and hopes, et cetera. Once you realize that, not only are you helping them, but it also helps yourself."
For Eastwood, this year was her first appearance at the Hunger Banquet. She said, "I've only heard good things about it. I heard people talking about how it really was impactful and that they never really thought to that extent about world poverty, but it really is a big problem."
Moeai was invited to the banquet having never attended the event. She said, "I think they asked us to come because they knew the students here would relate to those in the helping profession.
"There's always a peacebuilding effort that needs to be happening. We help students to find peace in situations that they may not be able to find a solution to. Therefore, we are peacebuilders too."
McLane said he finds the event to be helpful for everyone. He stated, "I feel like it was helpful for me and its helpful for others."
Frayer's said he appreciated the people in attendance. He said, "I think the greatest thing is that it has a lot of people who are open to changing the world and young passionate minds.
"When you get a lot of those kinds of people in the same room, I think that’s when good ideas are born. All of these stations are about helping people and looking outward. Not looking at yourself, but looking towards other people."
While all these students have similar goals, Gabriela Corbett, the Arbinger club field director, explained the purpose of these goals by giving statistics on world hunger and more. Corbett shared, "Nearly half of the world's population - more than 3 billion people - live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty, less than $1.25 a day.
"More than 1 billion children, worldwide, are living in poverty. Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis combined."
During the event, Chad Ford, the director of the McKay Center, spoke and pointed to the window behind him, referencing the community as he vigorously stated, "We have a lot of our brothers and sisters that are struggling right now."
Though Ford implied we have many people to help in our own community, Eastwood mentioned, "We're so privileged to live here where we don’t have to see it every day, but in my mission I did. On the daily basis, you see people that are in poverty. They're suffering."
Ford shared a story about one of Laie's local bus stops. Complaints were filed about a homeless man who "smelt bad" and spent "too much" time at the bus stop bench. Ford said, "People got together and came up with a creative solution.
"They changed the bench, and put in some speed bumps basically, so that no one could lay down or sleep there anymore. Problem solved, right? Except it isn't solved. One way to try to get rid of poverty is try to get it out of our sight so we don’t have to see it everyday.
"One way to look at the homeless is see them as objects, things that are in our way. You can see them as people who don’t count the same way that I count, that make me feel uncomfortable.
"I'm advocating a different approach, which is that we see those people that are struggling as people. People like us. People [who] have needs, dreams, desires - like we do - that are struggling."
Ford offered a call to action to the students of BYUH. He stated, "Over the next few years, the McKay Center is going to be launching a homeless project in conjunction with BYU.
"Our job is to take a different approach, … try to see these individuals and work with various professionals to find resources we can get and to try to see what we can do at least here, in this little spot on our island."
Ford clarified, "I don’t know all the answers, I don’t know exactly how to solve this problem here, but I am committed and dedicated to working with lots of different people so we can figure that out going forth."
He asked for help. He said, "All I'm asking for is not your money, but your time, your energy and your enthusiasm. We hope that this will be the start of something great that we can do together."