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STUDENTS GET SYMBOLIC TASTE OF THE SCOPE OF WORLD HUNGER

As her schoolmates at Rowland Hall-St. Mark's Middle School munched on Happy Meals Thursday, Jeanna Tachiki's lunch was a cup of plain white rice.

And unlike her fellow students who consumed their hamburgers, fries and drinks at a table, Tachiki sat on the floor of the school cafeteria as she ate her meal - a demonstration symbolic of the inequities of living conditions of people worldwide.Tachiki said the exercise taught her "how many people are going hungry around the world, what little percentage are getting good food to eat."

The "hunger banquet" culminated a week of awareness programs about hunger locally, nationally and worldwide. Part of the week's activities included fund-raising by students and staff to benefit Utahns Against Hunger, Crossroads Urban Center and Oxfam International, an international organization that raises money for famine relief, education and programs to help communities become self-sufficient.

Now in its third year, the fund-raising effort netted $3,000.

Eighth-grader Pat Sullivan also sat on the floor, polishing off a bowl of beans and rice, symbolic of the middle class.

"I usually have a lot more than this to eat, but it wasn't too bad," Sullivan said, clutching his empty bowl. "It helps you realize that it's kind of rare for people to eat a `normal' meal."