Perry County Students Take a Bite Out of Hunger

As they arrived for dinner, all guests were treated
equally by the Greenwood High School FFA students. Everyone was welcomed with a
friendly greeting, followed by an escort to their pre-assigned tables. But at
the table, guests were free to choose their seat. In front of each seat was a
corresponding colored “mystery” card determining what and when they
would eat that evening..

FFA Advisor and Agriculture Education Teacher, Krista
Pontius, said the guests not knowing what was in store for them was the point
of the banquet.

“The uncertainty is part of the program,” said
Pontius. “And we want people to be uncertain. We want people to feel
insecure because that's what hunger is all about.”

When the dinner commences, those with pink cards were
served first. They were treated to a sumptuous, multi-course meal found in many
wealthy countries.

Green cards diners were served next. They ate an
adequate, but less appetizing meal, reflecting diets typical of developing

“This looks like a meal I would have eaten growing
up with my family,” said retired teacher Nancy Walker, appraising her
dinner of beef macaroni and bread.

Blue card diners ate last, having to serve themselves a
bowl of rice and beans and a glass of water. Their fare represented meals
common to Third World countries.

Larry Reisinger was among those dining on rice and beans.

“I was here last year and it was a fun
evening,” said Reisinger. “It certainly drives the point home about

Greenwood High School FFA members planned and presented
the Hunger Banquet. Chapter president and Greenwood High School senior Kristen
Ryberg said the hunger banquet concept appealed to the students because of the
need they see in their own back yard.

“We see hunger all through our school,” she
said. “There are kids that come to school and their lunch may be the only
meal they get that day.”

Following dinner, guest speakers examined hunger on a
world, national, state and local level, noting no one is totally exempt from
the threat.

“Most of us, if we were really honest, are only two
months without a paycheck and we would find ourselves in the exact same
situation,” said John Kiner, Director of the Perry County Food Bank.

A free will offering for the food bank closed the
evening, along with a thank you brownie and ice cream dessert for all

“Our take home message tonight is 'your neighbor
could be hungry and there is something we could do about it,” added

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