LuziCare's Hunger Banquet provides food for thought
This past Friday, April 15, LuziCare, an on-campus club dedicated to raising money for a small village in Malawi called Chadika, organized an event called “The Hunger Banquet.” One hundred and twenty willing students showed up to Roberts Dining Hall and gave up their dinner meal swipe to be randomly sorted into one of three categories: undernourished, middle-class or elite. Upon their arrival, students checked in and picked a ticket from a bowl that determined their social class. Approximately sixty-six people were impoverished, forty were middle-class and twelve were elite. The elite class enjoyed waited service, cloth napkins and fine china. The middle class, on the other hand, were seated at average tables and a fairly mediocre meal. The impoverished class sat on the floor; each had only a bowl of rice and a cup of water in hand.
At the banquet, a slideshow featuring facts about countries all over the world, from Waterville, to South East Asia to Africa, played on a projector. “We divided the world into different parts and assigned different countries to different members to do research; we wanted to show that hunger happens everywhere,” Hillary Sapanski ’13 said, one of the presidents of LuziCare.
“There were a lot of people thinking, ‘Am I going to be hungry afterwards?’, and that’s the point: this is one night for them, and for some people, this is their everyday; it’s their reality,” explained Sapanski. Chelsea Scholz ’13, Sapanski’s co-president, added, “The point is to raise awareness and get the word out. There are a lot of people in this world [who] are hungry.”
Jamie Gold, who graduated with the class of ’09, started LuziCare on the Hill four years ago. The club’s main goal is to raise funds for the town of Chadika and boost awareness about economic inequality. This year, LuziCare has donated a great deal to the village; it’s helped fund ambulance bicycles, home-based care kits, and a corn garden that has provided villagers with a sustainable source of income for the villagers, “It’s a community based organization,” Scholz explained. “We work with a non-profit group called Face to Face Aids. The director lives in New York City and is [a] Colby alum. It’s cool because we work with them so our money goes directly to them; there [are] no tax[es] or overhead cost[s].” Further, Sapanski added, “We’ve sent about twelve hundred dollars [to Chadika] this year, and considering funds given in previous years, our donations have amounted to about four thousand dollars [total]”.
LuziCare’s relationship with the Malawian community is an unmediated one; the club gets constant video updates from Chadiki residents thanking LuziCare for its help. This summer, the two club presidents plan on traveling to Chadika so that they can meet the people they’ve been helping face-to-face. “Our goal is for people [in the club] to understand this direct relationship and how their money is helping this community,” Sapanski noted. “We really want the Colby community and Chadika to feel connected to one another,” added Scholz.