A lunch of rice and water may not seem like much, but it is what more than half the people of the world eat every day.
They not only have rice and water for lunch, but for breakfast and dinner as well, if it is available.
To illustrate the need to help people worldwide, the students at St. Rose of Lima Elementary School, held their annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet Nov. 19.
(Mirror photos by J.D. Cavrich) Mikey Yahner (left) and Matt Zupon, fifth-grade students at St. Rose of Lima Elementary School, have rice for lunch. About 60 percent of the world’s population eat rice and water for their meals.
Samantha Gburek, a fourth-grade student at St. Rose of Lima said she felt guilty because she got spaghetti, meatballs, salad and juice at the Oxfam Hunger Banquet. Her food represents a meal enjoyed by about 15 percent of the world for lunch.
Friends and family of students attended the luncheon, where they received a randomly drawn ticket entitling them to one of three meals: a gourmet meal, bread and soup or rice and water. Delaney Hallinan, chairman of the public relations committee for the Oxfam Hunger Banquet, said 60 percent of the participants get rice and water.
She has participated in the event for the past four years and received rice and water every time with the exception of one year.
"When I was younger, I would get upset," Delaney, a seventh-grade student, said, "but as I got older, I got more and more out of it. I got to go home and have spaghetti, but others in the world don't. They just get more rice and water."
The Oxfam Hunger Banquet campaign's goal is to show people how much of the world lacks food and why they should not take a meal for granted, Delaney said. Only 15 percent of the participants enjoy a gourmet meal, leaving 25 percent to dine on soup and bread.
She said about 50 friends and family of students attend the banquet where students in third through eighth grade serve as waiters and ushers. Delaney said St. Rose of Lima students have been hosting the banquet since 1980.
During the meal, a basket is passed to collect more donations for Oxfam and Sister Paula DelGrosso's Food for Families Soup Kitchen. Although a total for the donations was not available, Delaney said about $600 to $700 was raised last year.