Last Sunday, the CRS Ambassadors put on a Food Fast program – a day to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world who experience hunger on a daily basis. This day was not only about “going without” food, to experience for a moment what it’s like to not eat a couple of meals, but rather, it was filled with education pieces and hands-on activities that allowed each participant to reflect and discuss these issues of food and water insecurity, both internationally and locally.
When people make comments to me along the lines of, “students don’t care about social justice” or “students are too busy these days to think outside of themselves,” I think to myself, sure, there are those groups of students – hell, there are those adults in the world…but, this Food Fast Day would give you insight into a group of justice-minded students. Listening to the discussions that go on in our weekly meetings for CRS Ambassadors (at 9pm, mind you), these passionate individuals would prove you wrong.
…we just have to give them the space to have these discussions – and more importantly, allow their creativity to flow in a productive, focused way. oh, and it does!
We started off the day with some resources from Bread For the World, in which we watched the film, “A Place At The Table.” Think domestically. Think a couple of miles away – Philadelphia. Here’s the trailer:
- “Charity is a great thing – but it’s not the way to end hunger.”
- “If another country were doing this to our kids, we would be at war.”
- “One out of two kids in the United States, will at some point, be on food assistance.
Later, we had the “families” gather water from the pond in front of our school, carry the water back to the center of campus, only to find that the water was contaminated (simulating that this is the case in many areas of the world who lack access to clean, drinkable water). They then gathered wood for a fire, and fruit (hidden by yours truly and JZ) to make a delicious fruit salad later for supper.
We then studied the conditions of food insecurity in other countries like Guatemala and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and were faced with having to make recommendations of how they could go about survival, given their bare circumstances. That was pretty tough, and in a number of those cases, we were all left speechless when posed with the question, “So what should the families do?” In many of these cases, it seemed like we exhausted all possibilities…
After examining various conditions in other countries, we then took a look at how we would go about providing for ourselves and our “families” with shelter, food and insurance, with a minimum wage salary, kids, and a partner, here in Radnor, PA. First, it gave the students a realistic insight into what it’s like to be an “adult,” and secondly, it reflected the daily hardships faced by families with a monthly income of a couple thousand US dollars. That was tough.
What made this retreat meaningful and inspiring, was the spirit of all who attended. There was a strong camaraderie, desire to learn more and voice frustrations with the system, and a wealth of passion for creating positive change in the world.
Success? Absolutely. Great job, CRS Ambassadors! Continue to be inspired, and inspire others! And so: let the advocacy continue…!