by: Viola Ranjha
Krasa Student Center was the setting for the second annual hunger banquet hosted by Benedictine University’s UNICEF chapter on Wednesday, April 16th from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. UNICEF’s goal is to educate, advocate, and fundraise in the community so that children will not die of preventable causes.
“We are proud to say that we were able to educate 158 people about hunger inequality, as well as raise over $3,800 to support UNICEF’s work. Moreover, we hope that we have empowered others to fight against hunger so that one day, no child will suffer from being hungry,” said Bodepudi.
This year’s banquet focused primarily on the need to raise awareness of how resources are unevenly and unequally distributed around the world. It was stressed how this should not be the case and is a problem, which can be easily solved with the proper knowledge, funding, and resources.
Possible solutions were discussed about how hunger can be stopped globally as well as locally. The program began at 6:00 p.m., followed by a presentation and formal dinner. The ticket prices were $15 dollars for students and $20 for adults. All proceeds of the event were donated to the children of the Sahel Region in West Africa faced with poverty and hunger.
Sree Bodepudi, a member of UNICEF offered a behind the scenes take on what went into planning the banquet.
“In order to help fund our banquet, we applied for an institutional grant, which has supported our initiative as well as other activities of Benedictine Hunger Week. We began planning in December, creating flyers, invitations and asking local companies to sponsor our event. During the banquet, board members lead an interactive discussion on the unequal distribution of resources which ultimately leads to hunger,” explained Bodepudi.
Due to all of the efforts of the members of UNICEF, a resource fair was integrated into the banquet. This showcased local organizations that focus on hunger at a local level giving attendees the resources needed to actively participate in the fight against hunger. In addition to the resource fair, a food drive was held throughout the night so that attendees could bring in canned food items to be donated. The night ended with an auction and prizes.
UNICEF, along with other clubs on campus, organized its first annual Hunger Week from April 14th to April 17th. On April 16th, ICBU hosted a presentation on an international view on hunger at 12:30 p.m. On Thursday, April 17th, the ACS/SPS hosted a GMO presentation at 12:30 p.m., and The American Red Cross presented a clip on hunger at the same time as well. These events took place in hopes of educating the community about the hunger problem and give the Benedictine community a chance to take an active role in fighting hunger.