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20th Annual Oxfam Fast Observed at Mount Union

November 21, 2006

Mount Union College recently held its 20th annual Oxfam Fast For A World Harvest Banquet in the Myers Sanctuary of Dewald Chapel.

Oxfam is a non-profit organization that works to end poverty.

Midwest Campus Compact Citizen-Scholar (M3C) and JANUS along with students from Dr. Grossman's Introduction to International Politics participated in the event.

The event began by drawing lots to see which students would get which meal; some students received a full meal, others a partial meal and many others received only a cup of rice and water. Once the meals were passed out, Rev. Marty CashBurless, chaplain of the College, talked about hunger in a global and local perspective which reminded the students that some of the poorest people don't live far away.

Amanda Espenschied-Reilly, director of service learning and community service, then led an exercise called Global Grab Bag. 'I handed out cards with a variety of images on them and the students got into pairs to discuss what they thought each image had to do with world poverty and hunger. The images included medicine, lumber, land, women, etc. Each pair then shared their ideas and we discussed as a larger group other ideas and also Oxfam's activities related to the images.'

Both Espenschied-Reilly and Leigh Anne Drago, VISTA Service leader, were impressed by the students that participated. 'The students that attended were there because they wanted to learn more about the issues of world hunger and were eager to participate,' said Drago.

Espenschied Reilly was impressed that the students refused extra food at the end of the night. There was plenty of food left over at the end of the night and it was offered to the students who only received a small portion and hardly any of the students accepted it.

'You could tell that the event and the issues we discussed had a profound effect and I think most did not want to avoid the feelings of hunger. The empathy and understanding that these students now felt was clear in their faces and humbles refusals of the extra food. I was very proud,' says Espenschied-Reilly.

Canned foods were also collected at the event and 300 students have donated. Mount Union College will donate $1.50 in the name of each student to Oxfam and the food will be donated to the Domestic Violence Shelter.

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