Office of Public Affairs

USM Voices: Hunger Banquet teaches all to be thankful

Food at Feed Hope

Here at USM, we have many voices that make up our community. We're pleased to continue USM Voices — an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, alumni and others to share their thoughts about all things USM. Here, Kathryn Letellier writes about the Feed Hope Hunger Banquet, an event held to encourage people to see hunger in new ways. If you would like to share a blog post with us for potential publication, please submit your blog idea here.

Feed Hope Hunger Banquet teaches all to be thankful

By Kathryn Letellier, USM Public Affairs Intern

On Nov. 14 USM's Office of International Programs put on the Feed Hope Hunger Banquet in Glickman Library.

As you walked into the event, you were handed a ticket that would tell you which economic class you’d be in, determining what and how you’d eat that night. My ticket told me that I was in the lowest class, meaning I got to sit on the floor and eat white rice. The middle class got to eat beans and rice while sitting at a table, and the highest class got to sit at a table-clothed table with a centerpiece as they ate chicken, carrots, and rice.

USM’s Director of International Programs Kimberly Sinclair came in to tell us a little bit about each economic class. I’m sure she shocked everyone when she said that an income of just a little over $10,000 a year would land you in the high class, but the majority of people will fall short of this income.

After we ate, Chair of the Food Studies Program Michael Hillard spoke to us about what it meant to be food insecure, and how prevalent that is in Maine. Hillard urged us to take action through internships within the Food Studies minor or by donating non-perishables to the USM Well on-campus Food Pantry.

When I got home from the Feed Hope event, I ate a second dinner. It’s not that there wasn’t enough food there, because there was actually plenty, but it just didn’t leave me feeling as though I ate enough.

Initially I felt guilty for doing this after all the information I had just learned about those less fortunate, those who aren’t privied with eating more when they are hungry.

But feeling guilty when you should be feeling grateful does nothing. Eating three healthy meals a day with a variety of different food groups is something that some of us see as a given, so we sometimes forget that not everyone — even some of our own neighbors — are not fortunate enough to do the same.

We should do as Professor Hillard said and take action to fight this injustice. Don’t just sit around at a table-clothed table with enough food while those around you are sitting on the floor eating the bare minimum.

If you’re interested in taking action, donate to the USM Well or learn more about the Food Studies Program.

And just one last reminder that, if you are fortunate enough to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast this Thursday, be thankful.