Exactly 85 percent of those who sat down to a hunger banquet got a taste of just that when they were served the kind of meals most of the world eats.
The University of Utah chapter of the International Development Network divided the 60 or so diners into groups equal to the percentage of the world's population living in First, Second and Third World countries.Thirty percent of the banquet participants were served a Second World meal of beans, tortillas and sauce Friday night. Fifty-five percent dined on a "Third World" meal of just rice.
Their meals were eaten off paper plates on the floor beneath diners representing the 15 percent of the so-called "First World" eating a meat-and-potatoes meal at a nicely set table.
"It's humbling," said U. student Rob Sorensen, watching the seated diners as he picked at the lump of rice on his Third World plate.
"It makes you hope they at least eat all their food. If they leave anything on their plate, I'll be upset," Sorensen said. He said he would feel guilty if he did not finish his own food.
Jason Hunt, another student on the floor of the Newman Center, said he realized he could never completely understand the feelings associated with hunger even though he had been given a Second World meal.
Still, he attempted to relate to their situation. "I feel a little cheated," Hunt said, eyeing the roast beef being eaten at the dinner table. "What did they do to deserve a good meal?"
The purpose of the dinner, according to International Development Network member Sara Wilson, is to help make people more aware of the suffering felt by the majority of the world's population.
"They can see the disparity and feel how unfair it is," Wilson said. "Although they don't suffer from serious malnutrition or serious hunger, they do get a feeling."
Money raised from the banquet will be donated to the Foundation for International Community Assistance, which provides loans to residents of Third World countries.
Among the sponsors of the banquet was Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, who delivered the keynote address. Other sponsors included Utahns Against Hunger, UNICEF, the Associated Students of the University of Utah, the Andean Children's Foundation, Results and the Bennion Community Service Center.
The U. chapter of the International Development Network has about 60 members and is one of about 50 chapters on campuses nationwide.