Juniors Addison Adams, Emily Ansah, Melissa Lewis and Natalie Nwanekwu conducted extensive research on poverty, focusing on the aspects of hunger. As part of their Global Studies Capstone project, they chose to share the experience of hunger with others by inviting the community to join them at their project entitled The Hunger Banquet.

As guests arrived, they randomly chose a sealed envelope. Once inside the school’s cafetorium, the lot they drew would determine who they represented for the event…high-class, middle-class, below-poverty and the roamers. Their status for the evening determined when and how much they were fed as well as where they sat for the meal.

School Director Mr. Gregory Meece was a patriarch of a family of five from Somalia. He was instructed to sit on a blanket and was served a small, cold rice cake with beans. Spanish teacher Mrs. Monica Dunbar, pulled a high-class ticket and was seated at a table with linen. She dined on lasagna, rolls, assorted fruit, cookies, sparkling cider and water.

Newark Mayor Polly Sierer was a guest speaker at the event and spoke of poverty and homelessness at the local level. Theresa Young, a representative from the American Red Cross, was also in attendance and spoke of poverty on the global scale.

Melissa Lewis shared her reflections on the banquet. “Not only did we remind people what hunger is really like, the guests were able to reflect on how much they really do have. The atmosphere in the cafetorium was intense and we hope that the intensity gets channeled into action both locally and globally,” she said.