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Hungry for Change on the Western Coast

Hungry for Change on the Western Coast

by Oxfam | May 17, 2010

Vancouverites have proved they really are hungry for change, as the Oxfam UBC campus club held a highly successful Hungry4Change banquet on Feb. 10 and raised $3,000 for Oxfam Canada’s community-based development programs.

Caitlin Ohama-Darcus was the Gala Coordinator for the event, which took place at the Performance Works on Granville Island, and says the idea for the banquet was one that had been tossed around by the Oxfam campus club at the University of British Columbia for a number of years.

The philosophy, Caitlin said, behind the event is `bringing together Vancouverites for a meal where every bite matters, and above all, being hungry for change. All 180 public tickets were sold prior to the event.

Oxfam Hungry4Change banquets are events where guests randomly draw tickets assigning them to a high, middle or low income group, and are served corresponding meals. Fifteen percent of the guests are in the high income group, and are served a scrumptious gourmet meal; twenty-five are in the middle income group and receive a simple meal of rice and beans; the last 60 percent of guests are in the low income group, and must wait in line for a small portion of rice and water.

Although not all the guests receive a hearty meal, they do receive an inspiring lesson on the inequality of food distribution and the reality of hunger. In order to raise awareness of global food insecurity and to fundraise for Oxfam Canada’s efforts to ameliorate it, the Oxfam UBC campus club’s banquet also included music, a silent auction and an entertainment program that tackled common misconceptions about hunger.

The special guest speaker for the night was Dr. Shafik Dharamsi, an assistant professor in the faculty of medicine and the associate director of the Centre for International Health at UBC, who Caitlin said `proved to be one of the highlights of the evening.

With a professional background with the Aga Khan Development Network, where he implemented an extensive health promotion and early childhood development initiative in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, Dr. Dharamsi spoke to the audience about what it means to be hungry.

`His speech was both personal and thought-provoking. Moreover, Dr. Dharamsi, as a member of the UBC community, brought a local element to this global issue, Caitlin said.

Helping to turn the banquet into the success that it was, were the dozens of volunteers from the UBC student body, including photographers, musicians, servers and many others, who came out to support Oxfam UBC’s efforts to create a sustainable annual Hungry4Change event on the west coast of Canada.

In addition to Caitlin, the coordinating committee consisted of Andra Dediu, Alia Dharssi, Dena Javadi, Sahriar Kabir, Natasha Reaney, Rosalind Sadowski, Jillian Steger, Annabel Wong and Kara Yoo, who are all members of Oxfam UBC.

Contributing their time and resources so the club and the event would reach their goals, were also the many sponsors: York House School, UBC Student Environment Centre, UBC Social Justice Centre, Raincity Grill, Terra Breads, La Baguette & L’Echalote, Sprouts, Agrocafe, Aphrodite’s Cafe & Pie Shop, Sweet Obsession, Capers Community Market, Long & McQuade Musical instruments, and the United States Consulate.

Hopefully, this will not be the last Hungry4Change banquet the UBC campus club orgnanizes.

`It was an inspiring first attempt, Caitlin said, and we hope that this event continues annually for years to come.

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