Helping The Hungry By Example

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A Charlottesville High School senior is doing her part to help the hungry worldwide. Instead of organizing a conventional food drive, she decided to show people how some of those suffering actually eat.

Dinner was luck of the draw as about 100 people entered the cafeteria at CHS Thursday night. From a woven basket filled with slips of paper, each diner chose a story and their Thursday night fate.

Each of those pieces of paper assigned the participants to a social class. Most people picked low-income slips, which meant a night of eating rice - and only rice - from a spot on the floor. The others got table spots. Some were considered middle-class, which earned them rice and beans. The final elite were high-income folks who sat at decorated tables and were served plates overflowing with food.

Sadly, the proportions of people in each class were accurate. According to event organizers, 15 percent of people around the world are able to feed their families without any worry. Another 35 percent of the world population earns an income that barely allows them to live by. That means about half of the globe is virtually living in poverty and struggles to meet their basic needs.

CHS senior and Hunger Banquet organizer Rebecca Schectman said, "I felt like its an issue that's not only accessible, but there's a solution."

A solution isn't just needed overseas. Michael McKee, the chief planning and philanthropy officer for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, came out to the dinner to explain how hunger looks in America. McKee honed in on the fact that not being able to feed your family doesn't mean a person doesn't have nice clothes, a car or other amenities. In fact, hunger could mean something totally different for some living here.

"Food insecurity in the United States really has as much to do with having inadequate nutrition as an insufficient amount of food," McKee said.

It was no four-course benefit gala or five-star meal. However, whether in a seat or on the ground, the diners got food and perspective.

"I hope that people were a little bit uncomfortable but left knowing that everyday, we're more comfortable than half the world," Schectman noted.

Schectman hopes someone will carry on this legacy and continue spreading the word about worldwide hunger in years to come.