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Oxfam Hunger Banquet at Atlantic Cape Brings to Light Global Food Insecurities Exacerbated by Economic Disparities

11/20/2023 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
Atlantic Cape students take part in the Annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet

MAYS LANDING — Nearly a quarter of the globe’s eight billion people live in poverty. Eight hundred and twenty million suffer from daily chronic hunger. More than 33 million Americans face food insecurity. And in New Jersey alone, more than 175,000 children are hungry each and every day.

To bring awareness to this crisis facing millions of people day-in and day-out, Atlantic Cape Community College’s Student Government Association, Student Engagement and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Cross-Functional Committee hosted its Annual Oxfam Hunger Banquet in the Student Center lobby on the Mays Landing campus on November 16.

Bob Franklin from the Atlantic City Rescue Mission speaks to those in attendanceAtlantic City Rescue Mission Partnership Development Officer Bob Franklin spoke about the daily impact that the Mission plays in the lives of thousands of homeless residents and the living poor who can’t afford to put food on the table or buy necessities for themselves and their children.

“At the Rescue Mission, we serve 500 meals a day for our homeless clients, but we also serve the house-poor, which is very important because these are folks who cannot afford rent, clothing and food,” Franklin said. “We open up our kitchen for breakfast and dinner, and many of the children in our neighborhood get their one nourishing meal of the day in our facility.”

As part of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (November 13-21) and to show students, first-hand, how food insecurity is exacerbated by economic disparities, attendees randomly selected a ticket that placed them into a hypothetical designated income bracket – high-income, middle-income and low-income.

Students sitting at the high income table Those who selected high-income sat down at a table elegantly decorated with white table cloth, glass and silverware, and a waiter who served them their entree, salad, beverage, coffee and dessert. Middle-income attendees sat at a long table without a table cloth and were served a plate of rice and beans. The low-income attendees, meanwhile, were relegated to the floor where they sat around a sheet and were served rice.

The tremendous difference between the quality of food, accommodations and service provided to those deemed high-income and those unfortunate to be considered low-income was an overwhelming eyeopener for the students.

Charlene Maycott addresses the crowd from the low income seating mat“I don’t have a lot extra, but if I can find a way to have a little bit extra, I want to help those who have less than me,” said Psychology major Charlene Maycott. “To really see this, it is heartbreaking. I traded my seat from the middle-income table to come over here (to low-income) because I don’t ever want to feel like I can’t help somebody who has less than I do.”

“You see here that the high-income is the minority and the low-income is the majority. It is quite sad actually and at the same time it is like that everywhere,” said sophomore Psychology major Nadine Hollis-Turner, who is originally from South Africa and is now living in Ventnor. “It was very nice (sitting at the high-income table), but you can be oblivious to the outside because when you are in a certain circle you do not know anything outside of it.”

Nadine Hollis Turner being served her saladAtlantic Cape is dedicated to helping eliminate food insecurities at its three campus locations in Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May with Food Pantries that are stocked with many non-perishable food items including a freezer full of frozen foods as well. Since its opening on the Mays Landing campus in 2019, the Food Pantry saw a record 335 students utilize its services in October, proving that there is tremendous need to ensure that Atlantic Cape students do not suffer from food insecurity.

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Oxfam is a global organization that fights inequality to end poverty and injustice. They offer lifesaving support in times of crisis and advocate for economic justice, gender equality, and climate action. Oxfam demands equal rights and equal treatment so that everyone can thrive, not just survive. The future is equal.

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About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape is a comprehensive two-year community college serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. The college offers over 40 career, transfer and workforce development programs to more than 8,000 students annually at three campuses in New Jersey: Atlantic City, Cape May Court House and Mays Landing.