Lunchtime Meal Raises Poverty Awareness

In a time when the economy is tough and every penny counts, Penn State Wilkes-Barre is doing its part to keep its students educated about poverty, not just around the world, but in the United States, and possibly in their own backyards.

On Tuesday, November 17, the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Campus Environment Team hosted a Poverty Awareness Meal, sharing with the campus and community some very real statistics of poverty in America and allowing participants to partake of a meal from various socioeconomic classes.

For a small donation to the Back Mountain Food Bank, participants were randomly separated into one of three classes: Upper, middle, and lower.  Participants were given a meal reflective of that class, while learning about the impact poverty has not only around the world, but right in our own country.

The "upper class" enjoyed a meal of salad, pasta, meatballs, and fruit juice, while dining in chairs with cloth-covered tables.

The "middle class" sat in chairs, no table, and were given hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and soda.  Meanwhile, those in the "lower class" were fed ramen noodles and water while sitting on the floor.

Each meal and place setting was designed to give participants an idea of the simple conveniences and luxuries that many take for granted.

Mark Stull, Director of the Back Mountain Food Bank spoke to the group, explaining that his shirtsleeves are always rolled because there is always so much work to be done, especially since the pantry now serves more than 200 families in our area.  Stull asked everyone present to embrace "active goodness" by finding a cause and actively helping in any way they can, rather than simply standing by.

For more information, please contact Jackie Warnick-Piatt, Penn State Wilkes-Barre Student Activities Coordinator, at 570-675-9284 or [email protected].

Poverty Awareness Meal Collage