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Perry County Students Take a Bite Out of Hunger - abc27 WHTM

Perry County Students Take a Bite Out of Hunger

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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 nations.

"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 hunger."

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 attendees.

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

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