Next Thursday, chances are you'll be sitting down to a large Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and if you’re like millions of Americans, maybe you'll finish it all off with a slice of pie.
Today, thousands of Americans are participating in a different kind of meal. One of the biggest challenges to building the will to end extreme poverty is communicating the reality of a problem that is so far away. Over the course of the last 35 years Oxfam America, a founding partner of ONE, has worked to develop a yearly tradition the Thursday before Thanksgiving called the "Oxfam Hunger Banquet" to help everyday Americans relate to the problems people face in the world's poorest countries.
The idea is pretty simple. If 20 people sit down at your table, representing the world's population, three would get a gourmet meal, five would get rice and beans, and 12 would receive a small portion of rice. The true power of a Hunger Banquet is that as you eat your meal, unlike the real world, you see what's on everyone else's plate.
Harry Truman said, "Give Americans the facts and they'll do the right thing." In the real world 850 million people go to sleep hungry every night, but the problem isn't a lack of food. We have more than enough to go around. The problem is the distribution, something we, with other countries around the world, can be the first generation to fix. As you give thanks next week, share the idea of an Oxfam Hunger Banquet with your family and friends.
Each and every American that becomes part of the fight strengthens the political will to help the world's poorest people.The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is meant to illustrate the scope of the problem and remind us of the special role we play in fixing it. This Thanksgiving we are lucky not just to have food on our table, but to live in a time and place when we have the power to end extreme poverty.
Josh Peck, ONE.org