When Cassandra Fenlon wants food, she gets up from the couch, heads to the kitchen and opens the cupboards to see what’s inside.
On Tuesday, however, the Grade 9 student at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute learned how those not so fortunate survive.
As part of World Food Day, students were randomly placed in one of three income categories, representing the upper, middle and lower classes around the globe. Cassandra, 13, was among the majority of the world’s population living in poverty and subsisting on about $3 a day.
Her meal for the day consisted of thin slices of flatbread, which she ate in plain view of the upper class students, those with annual incomes of $11,000 or more, who were dining on pizza, salad, yoghurt and cinnamon rolls.
The event, put on by a team of university students and local organization Roots for Harvest, was an eye-opener, she said.
“It’s one thing to look at and read statistics, but it’s another thing to actually, in different context, to go through what these people in other countries are going through, like eating the different foods they are eating, looking at how there are so many people in the poorer (category), not a lot in the richer (category),” she said.
It was surprising to learn just how poor some people are, she added.
“It was very shocking because every day you just get so caught up in school and homework, and I saw everything that happened today and it was a pretty good shock,” she said. “You always have (food), so you don’t realize what other people are going through.”
It’s also altered her way of thinking and she promised it will change her attitude about food, a notion she’ll try to pass on to her family.
“The next time I go shopping with my mom or something, I’m going to be like, ‘Do we really need that?’ What can we do to maybe make a difference?”
Bryan Clubbe is a volunteer with Roots for Harvest and said the idea behind the World Food Day seminar was to create empathy by students in Canada toward those less fortunate than themselves, whether they’re living in poverty in Africa or just down the street.
“I think it is a challenge, for sure, but I think if we look hard at a situation, any person in Canada or anywhere in the world can see how these issues affect us in our own community. You don’t have to go far in Thunder Bay, even, to find people who struggle to get food on their table every day,” Clubbe said.
Students from Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute took part in an afternoon session of the program.
Click here to report a typo or error
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Remember me next time.