Hunger strikes the halls of Ames High with varying results

On Tuesday, May 16, Ames High experienced one of the strangest annual events of the year. After hours spent steaming rice and cooking pasta, members of Students Helping Eliminate Famine (SHEF) served inadequate portions of meals to students who attended the Hunger Banquet, an event that is meant to promote awareness of hunger issues throughout the world. Those who attended the Banquet were split up into “social classes” and then were given the amount and type of food that best represents the average meal of their specific class. While a few students were treated to a luxurious meal of pasta with sauce and delicious deserts, the majority of attendees were served small servings of rice and beans. The uneven distribution of food at the Hunger Banquet was meant to simulate the reality of today’s world. “The Hunger Banquet was an opportunity to increase awareness of international problems,” junior Alissa Struble, co-president of SHEF, said. “While living in Ames, it is hard to understand the kinds of problems that are taking place all over the world, and so the Hunger Banquet was meant to simulate the true situation of hunger.” Guest speakers Madut Madut and Joe Maduol spoke at the Hunger Banquet about their experiences of living in Africa and then moving to America. Both Madut and Maduol are originally from Sudan. They gave those at the Hunger Banquet an interesting perspective on the issues facing Africa today. The Hunger Banquet is only one of many activities that SHEF has sponsored this year. The club, which is devoted to raising awareness and actively working to relieve hunger, has raised over $5000 this year alone to sponsor under-privileged children in the Dominican Republic. This coming September, SHEF will work in conjunction with the program Outreach Africa to bag thousands of pounds of food that will be shipped to malnourished families in Tanzania. However, SHEF is devoted to more than just the issue of hunger in under-developed countries of the world. The group works locally in volunteer projects such as Food at First and the Special Olympics. According to junior and SHEF co-president Jessica Oster, awareness is one of the key aspects of the club. “There’s more to the world than Ames, Iowa,” she said. “It’s important to us to give an accurate representation of the world, and that means looking outside of our own lives and helping out those around us.”