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Banquet highlights poverty

staff writer

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:02


STUDENTS DISH UP at the Hunger Banquet on Wednesday. The event highlighted the wealth and poverty differences in the world. Proceeds went to helping Cambodia charities. DELAYNE LOCKE photo



The Students Together Ending Poverty club sponsored this year’s annual Hunger Banquet in the TSC Ballroom. STEP sponsors a different country to help every year, and this year’s proceeds are going to a Sustainable Cambodia project.

“Water in Cambodia is one and a half to three miles away,” said Paul Stringham, Keynote Speaker and organizer for Sustainable Cambodia. “It has bugs in it and one of five kids there die from diseases they get from drinking the water. Everything we do in Cambodia has to be sustainable. Otherwise, these people won’t keep it after we leave.” 

The night was designed to portray poverty to the people in attendance. Coming through the doors, attendees drew a ticket from a bowl and were instructed to sit at the table, in a chair or on the floor. 

Eight people were able to sit at the table and were fed a full three-course meal. This represented the upper class. 

Some people were provided chairs and given pizza. They portrayed the middle class. 

The majority of the audience symbolized the portion of the world below the poverty level and was given rice and beans to eat on the floor.

“Sitting through the presentation made me want to redouble my efforts,” said senior  Sam Stringham. “It made me remember how blessed I am and why I’m going to school: to help people.” 

The night began with Dawi, an African drummer group, performing along with the girls from USU’s African dance class. 

Following their performance, Paul Stringham spoke to the audience and showed pictures and information about Cambodia.

Sustainable Cambodia works to construct schools, work on water projects and purchase bicycles.

“If the kids do not have bikes, they do not get to go to school,” Paul Stringham said. “Their parents do not understand the importance of it because they did not receive an education either.”

Sustainable Cambodia has volunteers who stay in the country anywhere from three months to two years. They help with projects and teach kids in schools they have constructed. 

These people are not paid for their work and their airfare and travel costs are paid out of their own pockets.

“Seeing the people and how their water is infested with mosquitoes and disease and how they live in poverty, it is cool to feel all of that again,” said junior Melanie Rossiter, who went on a humanitarian trip to Thailand five years ago. “We always need more, but when you go to a third world country, you see how much less you really need.”

The purpose of the Hunger Banquet was to increase poverty awareness.

“One person can make a difference,” Paul Stringham said. “There are problems everywhere. There are problems here in Logan. You don’t have to go to a third world country to see it. You’ll be blessed and you’ll enjoy it.”

The Hunger Banquet had a $5 per person entrance fee and raised a total of $375. All proceeds will go to Sustainable Cambodia. 

More information on Sustainable Cambodia can be found at



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