Hunger Banquet: The faces of hunger belong to your neighbors. Yes, really.

An image of grains on the plate in the shape of the seven continentsHunger isn’t just a reality in faraway lands. It’s right here, in Broome County and even on campus.

Ask Investigator Marie Finelli of SUNY Broome’s Office of Public Safety. A local resident who sees a wide variety of SUNY Broome students during the course of a day, she is no stranger to the faces of hunger. She also remembers her own life as a hungry college student – selling blood plasma so she could earn money for food, or even eating ramen noodles dry, like a cracker, because she didn’t have a pot.

Statistics show that at least 42 percent of community college students have experienced hunger due to food insecurity. And it’s certainly real in the community outside campus, where the hungry resort to food stamps and food pantries such as the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse (CHOW).

“When you’re hungry, you eat what you can. You make it last,” Finelli said.

The faces of the hungry aren’t unfamiliar to you. They include families, people who work but whose jobs don’t pay enough for both rent and food, and senior citizens whose food stamps – even wisely shepherded – can’t stretch the entire month.

That’s really humbling when you think about all the perfectly good food that is thrown in trash cans and Dumpsters. “We waste so much food,” Finelli said.

Investigator Marie Finelli

Investigator Marie Finelli

Join us on Nov. 15

This year’s Hunger Banquet will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 15 in Decker 201. Join us not only for the free lunch, but the opportunity to engage in deep experiential learning about poverty and food insecurity.

While admission is free, there are a limited number of tickets. Please contact Melissa Martin in Counseling Services at martinmm2@sunybroome.edu to order tickets.  Those who attend the banquet are encouraged to contribute a non-perishable, canned or packaged food item for the campus food pantry.

Share your story

As a walk-up to the Hunger Banquet, we are interested in sharing stories from students, faculty and staff who have experienced food insecurity in their lives. Have a story to share? Please contact the college’s writer, Jennifer Micale, at micalejr@sunybroome.edu or (607) 778-5682.