Maureen Bellwoar, a senior from Newtown Square, PA, brought her passion for social issues and creating awareness to the Hyde community through her efforts to organize and run a hunger awareness week on the Woodstock campus.
During the week of March 25-29, Bellwoar brought this issue to light in the community through a series of morning meetings focused on illuminating the large number of people suffering from hunger and the core issues underlying that problem.
“We learned as a school that our planet does in fact provide enough food to feed everyone, and that hunger is not about a lack of resources, but instead is about power,” said Bellwoar. “World hunger lies in inequalities in access to resources and opportunities. This is injustice and on hearing this information, people in our community wanted to do something.”
With the help of some of her peers, Bellwoar set up five trashcans in the dining hall labeled for the different grades and faculty. After each meal, students weighed the trash individually and recorded the data in order to see how much food was wasted per class.
“After a lot of calculations to take into account the difference in sizes of each group, the sophomores wasted the least amount of food, closely followed by the faculty. Everyone got into the contest and our community became more aware of the food we threw away,” she remarked at the conclusion of the project.
The week culminated in an OXFAM-inspired Hunger Banquet run completely by students. Attendees randomly received a colored paper upon arrival, which indicated the class to which they belonged. The three classes were then seated in separate sections with different accommodations and meals based on their assigned class.
50 people had to sit on the floor, eating rice with their hands, 35 people ate rice and beans at tables, and only 15 people received a full meal of pasta, salad, and bread and were waited on by servers.
“There is no difference between the worth of these people, as both groups contained students and faculty of strong character and integrity, but hunger and poverty do not discriminate. It was random and unfair who ended up in the different classes at the banquet, and it is random and unfair who ends up in these classes in life.”
At the end of the evening, participants took a moment to reflect and to show gratitude for what they have on a daily basis.
“I really put my heart into the Hunger Awareness week and I had high hopes,” shared Bellwoar afterwards. “The reaction I received from my peers made me really proud. Everyone wanted to know more about what they could do and I saw many people have real moments of conscience that inspired me to keep following my passions and bring awareness to the suffering in our world.”