An estimated 150 South County residents gathered in Marina Park on Thursday evening, June 9, 2011, to honor the Fifth Annual Community Hunger Awareness Day, sponsored by the Hunger Task Force, a joint initiative of the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale and the University of Rhode Island's Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America.
"People were impressed at the amount of effort put into the event. It's the kind of action that gets people thinking about what we can do as a [community]," said Stephen M. Maciel, a member of the Hunger Task Force and founder of the 1 of 52 Hunger Network.
Hold the Anchovies
To say Maciel is an energetic supporter of end-hunger initiatives, local farming, and culinary tourism would be an understatement. It was his passion for food that inspired Maciel to conceptualize the World's Biggest Human Pizza, a gustatory flash mob of people dressed in brown (crust), red (tomato sauce), and white (cheese) coming together to create what, from the sky, would look like a giant pizza.
At this year's Community Hunger Awareness Day, dozens of local residents snugged up on the field at Marina Park within a triangle of highway cones to create the first slice of what Maciel hopes will grow into a record-setting people-pizza.
"We were going to be cheese," quipped Gigi Hunt, "but Steve had enough cheese," she laughed as she posed with companion David Gates in their bright red shirts. "I came to donate food," continued Hunt who said she feels blessed to be food secure. "I didn't always have a cupboard full of food at home," she confided.
Aerial photography of the first slice of the World's Biggest Human Pizza was donated by Don and Nate Bousquet of Don Bousquet and Son Aerial Photography. The elder Bousquet is perhaps best known for his widely published cartoons poking gentle fun at Rhode Island's countless quirks.
Since the 1980s Bousquet has also been designing, building, and perfecting light weight, digital camera equipped, radio-controlled airplanes which son Nate deftly maneuvers by remote. (You can learn more about the Bousquets' plane in the photos and video accompanying this article.)
Pizza, Ice Cream, and Music - Gotta Love It
Everyone attending the Fifth Annual Community Hunger Awareness Day was treated to free pizza and ice cream donated by the following local businesses:
The folk/blues band Ursula George opened the event. An incipient thunderstorm precluded the closing musical performance by Narragansett's Westmoreland Street Jammers as attendees scrambled to their cars around 6 p.m. to escape the impending thunder and lightning.
Other event sponsors included:
For more information about the Hunger Task Force or to learn more about the World's Biggest Human Pizza, email Stephen M. Maciel.