Dinner event raises poverty awareness

Students from Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School and a few adults gathered at the school Sunday evening to raise money for Oxfam International.

Oxfam is an international organization for people living in poverty who are striving to exercise their human rights, assert their dignity as citizens and take control of their lives.

The Bishop Guilfoyle Mission Club hosted an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet, an educational tool, as well as a fundraiser to help people understand the complexity of issues related to poverty.

Those attending were given a ticket, which entitled them to an upper- (15%), middle- (35%), or lower-class (50%) meal. The number of people in each group reflects the percentage of people throughout the world that fall into each category.

The rich dined on chicken cordon bleu, au gratin potatoes, mixed vegetables, salad, a fruit cup and a brownie and ice cream for dessert. Middle class patrons ate a Kenyan dish, Mukimo, a vegetable mixture and rice, and the poor just had rice and water.

The rich people ate behind a barrier.

“The people who are rich aren’t aware of the other groups. They are isolated,” said Teresa Jeffries, Mission Club moderator and high school religion teacher.

Students participating in the banquet enjoyed the experience.

“I liked the eye-opening experience of it to see the different levels of how people live,” said junior Taylor Johnsonbaugh, dining at the rich table.

“I wanted to learn what other cultures are eating. I know how blessed I am and how much God has given me. I came out to support the cause,” said sophomore Andrew Potopa, who received a poor ticket.

The students also heard from 2009 Bishop Guilfoyle graduate Erin Brennan, who completed a mission to Tanzania, Africa, from May to August 2013.

Brennan said she started to gain an interest in missionary work in eighth grade, and the trip to Tanzania was her seventh mission trip.

While there, she worked in an orphanage and taught English and science to elementary-age students.

“It was a dream of mine to work in an orphanage in Africa. It was a challenging time in my life, yet a beautiful time in my life. It has made me a much better person,” Brennan said.

Although Tanzania is a poor country, despite its poorness, the people seem happy and have a wonderful relationship with God in their hearts and in their minds, Brennan said.

Jeffries said she was disappointed with the turnout of only about 30 people for the event.

“This is a hard sell. We are trying to get people to recognize the poverty that exists elsewhere,” Jeffries said. “We are the light of the world. We need to take what we have learned and go

out and make the world better.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.