I had such a cool opportunity last week - that I wanted to share it with you! I went to the Utah Valley University 6th Annual Hunger Banquet last Thursday with my mom and my little sister Sh. I didn't know much about it other than it was a charity event to give money to the food bank in Utah County - so I was excited to attend.
When we arrived we were each given a number and an assigned place at a table with colored paper placemats. Mine was red, Mom and Sh's were a Cream color. We noticed there was one place setting at the table that was really nice! It had a nice cloth napkin, an entire set of silverware, a cloth napkin, glasses to drink from and a pitcher of water and a pitcher of lemonade and even a brownie. As people were sat at our table we said hello to them and made some small talk (my mom knew a couple of them since they were students in one of her classes) while we waited for the program to start. When it started the event coordinator told us that the placemats were color coded by our new assigned Socio Economic Status. My Red placemat indicated that I was a working class individual (it was quite fitting since I pretty much looked homeless that day - I wasn't going to see T so I didn't bother looking nice for class - oops!) My mom and sister were middle-class and luckily, there was no Snoody snood at our table (I had to play the role you know). We were excused to get our dinners. My sister and mother had pizza and soda. I had half a cup of plain white rice and half a cup of plain black beans.... thank goodness for Pepper.
What an experience it was! I sat there watching people interact at our table, and eating my beans and rice. Lucky for me, I spent a year and a half eating beans and rice for lunch and dinner so I didn't mind it. However, two of the other people at our table refused to eat the beans and rice and were angry that their $7.00 ticket paid for only that. My mom and sister both offered me some of their pizza but I wanted to enjoy the entire experience. There was a mother and her son at our table as well. The son was assigned rice and beans with me, and the mother got pizza. I watched her promptly give him the pizza and eat the rice and beans herself. I started to wonder how often that happens and remembered my mission and how the people there did things like that all the time! Missionaries, husbands and kids ate first. If there was anything left, the mother would eat. It made me really appreciate my mother even more!
By the time I left that evening, my pockets were empty (I gave all the money I had) and so was my stomach (beans and rice aren't very filling) - but my heart was full! I was so happy to have had that opportunity! I remember being poor when I was younger - but we were never beans and rice poor! I hope to make this a tradition and attend every year. It is that time of year when the food bank is emptying quicker than it is filling! I don't want people to be hungry! It's not a fun feeling!