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Our Illinois 4-H Story

No Time Like Thanksgiving to Understand What It Means to be Hungry

As we fill our bellies this Thanksgiving holiday, some 4-H youth will have a greater appreciation for the food set before them.

The 4-H Hunger Ambassadors in Milan held a Hunger Banquet, but not everyone filled their plates. In fact, many didn't even get a seat at the table.

The Hunger Banquet was a real-life simulation of what it means to be hungry in our world. A few of the 30 teens received a delicious meal of lasagna, salad, and German chocolate with ice cream. They sat at the main table, the "privileged" table. Other youth, about a fourth of those in attendance, received a not-so-fancy supper of spaghetti, bread sticks and ice cream.

The majority, though, sat on the floor, receiving only one-half cup of rice. They drank water they scooped out from a bucket with a ladle.

"It's a real eye-opening experience for those kids who don't get as much," said Diane Baker, University of Illinois Extension Youth Development Educator. The youth, those at the table and those on the floor, spoke freely about their feelings of guilt, anger, confusion, and compassion.


Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager

Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.