Hunger Banquet raises money for malnourished children in the Philippines

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The Hunger Banquet features a variety of speakers. The event was hosted in the Wilkinson Student Center. (Audrey Hill)

BYU’s Fight Malnutrition Club and Bountiful Children’s Foundation hosted a Hunger Banquet on Nov. 17 to raise money for malnourished children in the Philippines.

The Hunger Banquet was a simulation of the poverty experienced by people around the world. At the event, participants randomly drew a card that determined whether they would be representative of the lower class, middle class or upper class for the duration of the event. 

Representing 50% of the world, 50% of the participants were assigned lower-class status with seats made of cardboard boxes on the ground and a limited meal of rice and pasta. 30% of those who attended were assigned middle class, which included seating at tables and a slightly larger meal of rice, pasta and meat. 20% of the participants were assigned upper class and had tables with tablecloths, flowers and a meal of rice, pasta salad, meat, drinks and dessert. 

Attendees at this year’s Hunger Banquet. The Hunger Banquet is a poverty simulation. (Audrey Hill)

The event featured speakers from BYU’s Public Health Department, the Fight Malnutrition Club and Bountiful Children’s Foundation. The speakers all highlighted the importance of nourishment in children’s lives, especially in the first 1,000 days. 

“A healthy diet during the first 1,000 days can have a profound impact on the health and well-being of mothers and children,” according American Publish Health Association.

BYUSA’s Filipino Club also performed a variety of dances at the event. 

“(The Hunger Banquet) opened my eyes to how much good I can still do, despite maybe not having a lot,” Kalena Parker, an exercise and wellness major at BYU, said about attending the Hunger Banquet. “I can do as much as I can with what I’ve been given.”

Parker continued to share that she feels blessed for the opportunity to study at BYU and is inspired to more fully live BYU’s slogan of “going forth to serve.” 

Charlotte Carter, a music education major at BYU, said the event was enlightening and left her with a desire to serve others and be grateful in all circumstances. 

Carter and Parker write what they are grateful for on a whiteboard at the Hunger Banquet. Carter said the Hunger Banquet reminded her to be grateful in all circumstances. (Audrey Hill)

Carter also explained the Hunger Banquet was an opportunity to learn about the Bountiful Children’s Foundation. 

The Bountiful Children’s Foundation, based out of Spanish Fork, aims to “provide nutritional supplementation to malnourished children and pregnant/nursing mothers as well as to teach health and cognitive development skills to families in the areas we serve.”

According to the website, the Bountiful Children’s Foundation works with local leaders of more than 20 countries providing nutritional supplements including micronutrient and calorie-dense supplements, monitoring growth every six months and educating families on food preparation and meal planning. In 2022, Bountiful Children’s Foundation reached 17,000 children and taught 2,244 health lessons. 

“Malnutrition is not only a third-world problem,” Lauryn Osborn, a senior in the dietetics program and president of the Fight Malnutrition Club, said. “There’s malnutrition even on our own BYU campus.”

Approximately one in three college students experience food insecurity, according to the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments

Osborn shared her time in the Fight Malnutrition Club has been a humbling experience and has led to a great deal of gratitude in her own life. 

Bountiful Children’s Foundation has a variety of ways to serve or donate that can be found on its website. BYU students can also join the Fight Malnutrition Club.

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