In an effort to provide awareness about hunger in Utah and around the world, students and community members gathered together for the recent sixth annual Hunger Banquet held in the Sorensen Student Center Grande Ballroom.

“In past years, we have focused on world hunger,” said Service Council President Richard Portwood. “This year we are focusing on hunger more locally.”

According to a quiz given out at the banquet, one in four children deal with food insecurities, and the largest group who are helped by the local Community Action Food Bank are poor families with two working parents.

To make the epidemic a realization, banquet attendees were randomly fed one of three meals, each belonging to a different income bracket.

“The meals that were provided were split up in to three sections,” said Erin Fleming, UVU Service Council member. “The low-income meal consisted of rice and beans and 50 percent of the attendees received this meal because that is the equivalent to what 50 percent of the world eats.”

Fleming added that the middle-income meal consisted of two slices of pizza and a can of soda. Thirty-five percent of the attendees were fed this meal which is also equivalent to what 35 percent of the world eats.

The high-income meal was a three-course roast beef dinner that was only served to 15 percent of the attendees.

The keynote speaker of the evening, Bill Hulterstrom, president and CEO of the United Way challenged the audience to not focus on the deficiencies of other people when we serve them.

“If we serve with the right principles, we really can change the world,” he said.

Hulterstrom’s three suggestions for service included focusing on other people’s strengths, letting people shine in their own light and the belief that the best service starts in your own neighborhood.

All proceeds for the event went to an organization in need.

“Every year we pick an organization to give the money to,” said Fleming. “This year all of the money was donated to Community Actions Services Food Bank in Provo.”

She also said attendance at the banquet has increased each year.

“Last year the event sold out,” she said. “This year we didn’t sell out, but had sixty-six more seats than last year. Considering the amount of people who attended, I think we outsold last year.”

In addition to this project, the Service and Learning Center currently is sponsoring a food drive which goes until Dec. 5.

A dating auction was also held to raise money for food. “Last week, couples were auctioned off and the money went to cans for the food bank as part of the food drive,” said Trevor Tooke, UVUSA Executive Vice President.

For more information about getting involved with service projects, contact the Service and Learning Center at (801) 863-8786, or visit SC 101.

To read more about the dating auction, go to B1.