Banquet raises hunger awareness issues, mobilizes support

veggie burger with potato wedges

March 22, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The Student Nonprofit Alliance at Slippery Rock University will host a "Hunger Banquet" from 6:30-8 p.m., March 29, in the Smith Student Center Ballroom, to raise awareness and mobilize support in the fight against hunger.

Cash donations will support the Slippery Rock Area School District Emergency Food Program, which makes weekend meals available to children.

The banquet will be based on the Oxfam dinner, an interactive dinner focusing on the issue of hunger, said Alice Del Vecchio, SRU assistant professor of interdisciplinary programs and director of SRU's Nonprofit Management Program. The buffet will include stations featuring popular U.S. foods.

"The Hunger Banquet is designed to start the conversation/buzz about food on the campus - realizing hunger is an important issue, empathizing with the children who are food insecure, and mobilizing to do something about it. In addition to the buffet meal, those in attendance will have the opportunity to spend time with like-minded people, learn more about hunger in our region and hear what organizations are doing to change the current reality," she said.

The banquet will launch awareness for "IZE on the Kitchen," a program which will be offered by the SRU Nonprofit Alliance April 4-8 to take a closer look at the local food stream, from planting to destruction, said Amanda Wemette, a nonprofit management and psychology major from Orlando, Florida, and co-coordinator of "IZE on the Kitchen." Blake Kramer, a nonprofit management and psychology major from Canonsburg, is the other coordinator.

"IZE on the Kitchen" is a weeklong campus event that focuses on food - "everything from what gets put into the ground, what goes into our bodies, to who gets food and who doesn't," Wemette said.

"Last year, the issue of hunger and food insecurity was a big topic in my nonprofit class. I was interested in the topic before, but learning statistics and numbers really showed the severity of the issue. Other opportunities at nonprofit leadership conferences allowed me to work with nonprofits and learn what they do to combat the issue. I believe the community can do more to educate and help individuals and families with food insecurities and through "IZE on the Kitchen," I hope to do just that," Kramer said.

IZE stands for realIZE there's a problem, empathIZE with those who live with the issue, and mobilIZE to do something to change things.

According to the Pennsylvania Hunger in American 2014 Report, Pennsylvania's Feeding America member food banks feed 2 million people annually, including 532,729 children and 246,392 people 65 or older. The agency said 77 percent of households buy inexpensive, unhealthy food and 58 percent eat food past the expiration date because they don't have adequate resources to feed their families.

Hunger Banquet tickets are $5 for students and $10 for non-students. Cash donations for the School Rock Area School District are separate and encouraged.

Only 125 tickets are available. They must be purchased ahead of time and are on sale March 24 outside of Starbucks in the Smith Student Center and through March 25 in 107 Spotts World Culture Building. They are also available at Eventbrite.com. For more information, call 724.738.4192.


MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu