HUNGER FEAST: Young adults plan experiential event

July 14, 2014

What’s Happening

Wednesday, August 6, 6 pm, Simon Family JCC

Hunger Feast, an experiential event designed to instruct about local and world hunger, will take place in partnership with The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, Jewish Family Service, and the international hunger relief agency Stop Hunger Now.

Last year, the Foodbank provided aid to 390,000 people, and distributed 14.2-million meals. The JFS, in turn, has provided services to approximately 2,700 people in the past year, and, contrary to popular belief, a majority of those who received aid were not Jewish. Stop Hunger Now’s goal is to end hunger by providing food and further aid to those who need it. Half of the money raised by the event will go to Stop Hunger Now, and the other half will be split between JFS and the Foodbank. Not only will this event help these organizations, but it will also provide an opportunity for participants to experience first-hand the difficulties many people, both in Tidewater and around the world, face regarding hunger.

For entrance to the event, participants are asked to bring either a nonperishable food item or $5, all of which will be directly donated to JFS and the Foodbank. Upon entering, participants will be randomly assigned to one of three classes: lower class, middle class or upper class. The assignments will be based on global class distribution. These three groups will be seated in designated areas reflecting class-status. The upper class will be seated at chairs and nicely set tables, the middle class will be at tables with chairs, and the lower class will be on the floor or on chairs.

Once participants are situated, Joanne Batson, CEO of the Foodbank and Betty Ann Levin, executive director of JFS, will discuss local hunger, and William Evans, PhD., will discuss international hunger. Each presentation will last around 10 minutes, and will be followed by the ‘feast.’ The meal will be different for each class. Though the meals will all be catered, the upper class will have the most lavish and plentiful meal, and the middle and lower class will have meals of rice and beans, though disparate portions. This event will give participants a chance to experience a hardship that many face every day, and will provide more tangible evidence of the dietary discrepancies that surround this community and the world. At the end of the meal, there will be an activity to further exemplify the struggles many people face with regard to hunger.

Following the “feast,” participants will have an opportunity to pack bags for Stop Hunger Now. These meal bags contain rice packs with dehydrated veggies and proteins, along with vitamins. Each bag can feed six people, and 35 volunteers can pack around 10,000 meals in just two hours. These bags will go all around the world, and help feed people in need. The plan is to pack 20,000 meal bags to feed 120,000 people.

One of the unique aspects about this event, besides its experiential nature, is that it is being created by a group of young adults. The members of the committee are Hannah Hofheimer Moss, Rebecca Curry, Andie Eichelbaum, Elli Friedman, Ben Klebanoff, Sophie and Jake Levy, Max and Tom Moss, Shikma Rubin, Becca Schwartzman and Jacqueline Strelitz.

In addition to participation, donations are welcome. Recognized giving levels are Planter $100, Grower $250, Harvester $500, and Distributor $1,000, though any amount is greatly appreciated. Contributions should be mailed to JFS, attn: Hunger Feast, 260 Grayson Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. For more information, email the organizers at hungerfeast757@gmail.com.

This event is more than an average charity event: it is designed to develop empathy. Participants, to a degree, will be exposed to the struggles many people face daily, and then be able to take strides against them. With help, change is possible.

by Tom Moss

Letter to the Editor