Banquet and walk battle homelessness

The Hunger Banquet and Help the Homeless 5K Walkathon concluded a weeklong series of events designed to raise money and food to combat worldwide hunger and homelessness, said Jennifer Olson, coordinator of the event and a homelessness fellow in the Office of Community Service.

The banquet, held in the Marvin Center ballroom Friday night, demonstrated how hunger affects populations in rich and poor nations worldwide.

Students were assigned to one of three socioeconomic groups according to color-coded tickets.

The “high” economic group sat at decorated tables and were served meat and vegetables by a tuxedoed waiter. The “middle” economic group sat at undecorated tables and received a small portion of rice and beans for dinner. The “low” group ate a small bowl of rice while sitting on the floor.

Sanjana Khoobchandani, who helped coordinate the hunger banquet, said the groups demonstrated how “the division of low, middle and high incomes affect the world.” She said the number of people in the simulation proportionately mirrored the global distribution of wealth.

Throughout the week and before the banquet Friday, more than 200 students donated their J Street meal points to Oxfam America, an agency that combats hunger.

Pledges from the Kappa Sigma fraternity also donated bags of nonperishable food items to help the cause.

About 260 GW students participated in the 11th annual Help the Homeless 5K Walkathon Saturday morning, which began at the Freedom Plaza and circled the National Mall. GW students raised more than $13,000 for 26 national and local service organizations, Olson said. Each team of 10 received a $500 pledge from the Fannie Mae.

Help the Homeless is a collective effort by D.C. area businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations to raise awareness and funds for the homeless in the community.

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