|As in this promotion photo for Hunger Banquets, hunger is a world problem Rotary Clubs are trying to help solve.|
Hunger Banquet sounds like an oxymoron, and that's the point. Although attendees won't know which of three levels of service they will receive for their $10 ticket, they won't go away hungry. And all will gain understanding of what it means to be food deprived.
Two Rotary Clubs - Rotary Club of Prescott and Rotary E-club of Southwest USA - are sponsoring the inaugural Hunger Banquet 2013 at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, at Prescott Valley's CASA senior center. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Yavapai Food Bank, with an additional $300 to Meals on Wheels.
"We need education and awareness that your neighbor, when he or she closes their door, may not have enough food to feed their family," chair and Rotary E-club member Doreen Berggren said. "This community has been so generous, dropping money in (Salvation Army) buckets and writing checks, but we have to move a little bit further and understand what the problem is to even begin to fix it."
Berggren said the food bank will get all of the proceeds because she and her team "got everything donated" - including 140 bottles of water from Albertson's, rice and beans from Prescott's Casa Bonita, pizza from Bill's Pizza, pasta from Gabby's Kitchen, and flowers from Watters Garden Center. Sam's Club, Costco and Safeway provided gift cards to purchase paper goods. Tom's Print Shop in Chino Valley donated printing services.
Decorations are coming from Coyote Springs Elementary students who are creating posters to the theme "Hunger through a child's eyes."
"Who knows what a 5-year-old will draw?" Berggren said. "And this art display is education for and from the children."
On banquet night, as a member of the Prescott Rotary quietly plays piano, guests will choose a colored ticket to determine which level of "hunger" and service they will experience, with distinct differences.
One ticket will get them seated by an NAU student at one of three beautifully decorated tables in the "Upper Class," where the menu includes a full pasta dinner, with waiters to serve them and pour their beverages.
Another color of ticket, for the "Middle Class," supplies a pizza meal with limited service.
The third group, the "Food Deprived," really won't be deprived, but will fill up on rice and beans they must pick up themselves, and they also must walk to a separate table to get their water.
ACT Theatrics will perform a skit, and YFB director Ann Wilson is guest speaker.
"It's a fun evening with your neighbors. You can come right from work and in your jeans, and you'll be out the door no later than 8 p.m.," Berggren said. "This is one idea from local Rotarians to bring awareness and education to the problem of hunger in Yavapai County and how we can work together."
Sponsorships for the banquet still are available, starting at $100 each.
Banquet tickets are only $10.
Seating is limited to 200 people, but donations are limitless. For more information, contact Berggren at 928-308-5781, or visit the website at www.hungryaz.org.