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Ballarat Grammar School takes a bite out of hunger

Ballarat Grammar year 9 students Abbey Miller and Ollie Meakin take on the hunger challenge. Picture Ballarat Courier Lachlan Bence

Ballarat Grammar School in Victoria kicked off the 2017 school year by hosting an epic Oxfam Hunger Banquet, to raise awareness and funds for those affected by global hunger.

Hunger Banquets are a fun and experiential way for students to explore the inequities in our global food system.

“The best part is it is organised by the students for the students, and that is a really powerful tool,” teacher Matt Hanlon told the Ballarat Courier.

The students created a microcosm of global food inequity at lunchtime: 16 students were fed a three-course meal, 32 students were fed a “middle-class meal”, while the rest of the school ate a handful of rice in a lettuce leaf. Students also sounded a gong every five seconds to symbolise the death of a child due to starvation.

“In the end the people that have the best experience will be the people eating the lettuce leaf with rice because the others feel really guilty,” student Will Keech told the Ballarat Courier. “Because malnutrition is so far away from us, we forget that it exists but it’s a huge issue and this really visualises it for us a lot better,” he said.

The event was led by the school’s Round Square Committee, and involved the whole school from Grade Three to Year 12 taking part – each donating $3 to Oxfam.

The big thing we’re trying to get across to the kids is empathy and this helps us to get an understanding of that, even if it is just for one meal time

Matt Hanlon, teacher

Schools can host their own Hunger Banquet in Term three or four, by registering to receive your How To Guide for Students which explains everything you’ll need – from how to divide the student cohort, how to run the activity to be as big or small as you like, explore the stories behind the hunger headlines and refection questions for students.

It is a simple activity that can have a profound impact on Australian students, opening their eyes to the true extent of global hunger and igniting a passion to fight for a fairer world, free of poverty. Students, like those from Ballarat Grammar School, are leading the fight against our unprecedented global hunger crisis. Is your school ready to join us to tackle hunger together?

girl standing in sun holding food

Register for Hunger Banquets

Hosting a Hunger Banquet at your school during Term 3 or 4 is a fun and interactive way to learn about food security and the issue of global hunger.