How They Do It: Bed Fast

This week is the National Week of Hunger and Homelessness, devoted to raising awareness and action on behalf of those who experience food insecurity or homelessness in our community.  During the week, our team hosts a variety of events to help engage our school on this issue.  Here are the top three things my students did this week, in my opinion.

#3  An education fair- During lunch, they created an interactive booth with guessing games.  Students came by and made a guess, and could win a prize for being right.

One game had beans in a jar.  Each bean represented 1048 people, and the total number of beans stood for how many people in the U.S. don’t know where their next meal is coming from.  Another game was a giant foam map of the U.S. and you could guess the percent of food insecure people in your home state.  What do you think is California’s?

#2 A bed fast- Students from the campus chapter of IJM chose to fast from their warm cozy beds for a week in an effort to remind their peers that for others, that is not a choice.  Not only did they sleep out in the plaza, they created signs and a booth to talk to people about their experience.  You could buy a homemade t-shirt at the booth and the money would go to our local homeless ministry.

The bed fast booth

#1 A Hunger Banquet- This is a dinner that invites you to share a meal in someone else’s shoes.  As you arrive, you’re given a story card that determines your income level.  The rest of your meal is shaped by whether you are in the global top 15% income, 16-35%, of 36% and below.  They adapted the program from Oxfam’s Hunger Banquet materials.

The high income group sat at a fully set table with linens, soda, and flatware.  They ate enchiladas, rice and beans, which were served to them. The mid-level group ate rice and beans only, in chairs, with a plastic fork.  The low-income group was offered only rice, no utensils, and sat on the floor.  After the meal, we discussed the experience.

Here’s another question:  how much do you think you have to earn in a year to be in the top 15% income level globally?

There were other excellent events over the week, and it’s amazing to me how creative our students get in order to to be effective educators of their peers.  If you work with young people, I encourage you to tap into their creativity for a cause.

Take your guess at the answers to my two questions, and then answer me this:  what has been one of your favorite efforts to help with hunger and homelessness?  A particular food drive?  A meal service?  Please share your story.

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