Come to the Hunger Banquet

You’re invited to the Hunger Banquet. Even better, how about hosting your own Hunger Banquet?

For more than 35 years, the Oxfam America Hunger Banquet® has brought attention to the fight against hunger and poverty. Now they’re providing online toolkits and a centralized action hub to create an interactive and transformative experience for today’s hunger activists.

At this very moment, one billion people in the world are chronically hungry. But hunger isn’t just about not having enough food, because there is more than enough food in the world — it’s about access to resources.

As our climate changes and weather becomes less predictable, farming is becoming more difficult. In 2009, hunger and malnutrition contributed to the deaths of more than three million children.

The Hunger Banquet
Anyone can host a Hunger Banquet where participants get to experience firsthand how food is distributed in the world and how our decisions affect others.

Hunger Banquet guests randomly draw tickets assigning them to a high-, middle-, or low-income tier. Each income level receives a corresponding meal:

  • the 15 percent in the high-income tier are served a sumptuous meal
  • the 35 percent in the middle-income section eat a simple meal of rice and beans
  • the 50 percent in the low-income tier have small portions of rice and water

Guests can also assume characterizations that describe the situation of a specific person at the income level to which they’ve been assigned. Guests are invited to share their thoughts after the meal.

Participants are unlikely to depart with a satisfied appetite, but most will come away with a greater understanding of the problem of hunger — and a sincere desire to do something about it.

Visit Oxfam America and download the free toolkit and step-by-step suggestions and sample scripts. You can even check the online calendar for Hunger Banquets in your area.

In Oxfam America’s new short video, Charlyne Yi plays a slacker whose life is transformed when she attends an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet® event.

Next: View OxFam’s video starring Charlyne Yi (Paper Heart, Knocked Up)

If a hunger banquet isn’t your thing, Oxfam has lots of other ideas to get people thinking about world hunger.

  • House Party: Get your friends and family together in an informal setting to work together on composing letters and making phone calls to legislators, or just having a discussion… the point is to get people thinking about world hunger and what they can do about it.
  • Dining Hall Fast: Students can get their high school or university to hold a Dining Hall Fast, encouraging students to give up one meal and the food service company to donate a percentage of the cost of those meals to Oxfam.
  • Interactive Games: “In Harm’s Way” is a 90-minute game that can be played with as few as 30 or as many as 150 people. Participants are assigned fictional roles that mirror real circumstances. Every 15 minutes represents one day. Players must respond to natural disasters and work to prevent disaster for their country’s poorest people. Oxfam provides materials necessary to play to the game.
  • Skip a meal and donate the proceeds to help Oxfam fight hunger.
  • Organize a benefit concert for Oxfam and feature your favorite local artists.
  • Host a film screening and a discussion about the issues.
  • Invite local businesses to donate items for a silent auction.

Feeling inspired yet? Join the movement! For more information and to help spread the word, visit:

Related Reading: 25 Million Tons of Food Tossed by Americans Every Year

Writer Ann Pietrangelo embraces the concept of personal responsibility for health and wellness. As a person living with multiple sclerosis, she combines a healthy lifestyle and education with modern medicine, and seeks to provide information and support to others. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and a regular contributor to Care2 Causes. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

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Anne Mueller
.5 years ago

Wow, this is such an interesting idea, thanks for this article!

Susie M.
Susie M.5 years ago


Hester Goedhart
Eternal Gardener5 years ago


Sue H.
Sue H.5 years ago

Thanks for this thought provoking

Kerry Stuparitz
Kerry G.5 years ago

nice idea thank you

Kathy K.
Kathy K.5 years ago


Bee ZZ
Birgitta S.5 years ago

Oh; thanking

Thomas H.
Thomas H.5 years ago

My city's Unitarian Universalist church does this every year. Not surprisingly, the invited (largely conservative) city officials and area church-goers rarely show up; facts and compassion disturb their love of fear of brown-skinned humans around the planet.

luca pisaroni
luca pisaroni5 years ago


luca pisaroni
luca pisaroni5 years ago