Nathalie Perez planned to eat only a cup of white rice Monday.
But the UF sociology freshman’s fasting mission failed when she spotted Pakistani food.
"I got tempted," the 18-year-old said.
On Monday, Perez was one of about 40 students who challenged themselves to give up food or other daily essentials to identify with children who suffer from food insecurity. UF’s Children Beyond Our Borders hosted the fast, where participating students only ate one cup of rice and drank one bottle of water that day.
Madeline Bieda, the club’s vice president, encouraged students to participate by offering bowls of pre-cooked rice to those passing through the Plaza of the Americas. She said the organization wanted to show how hunger affects a child’s ability to succeed in school.
"If you can’t meet your basic needs, you’re not going to be able to meet those educational demands," the 21-year-old UF psychology senior said.
This year, Bieda said the chapter localized the event and reminded students that hunger is a prevalent issue in their communities.
"We’re not only talking about hunger in other countries," she said. "We’re talking about hunger here."
Those who participated are invited to reflect on their experiences with hunger at the club’s potluck today at 6:30 p.m. in McCarty Hall A, Room 3194, Bieda said.
Perez said some children don’t have a choice to be hungry.
"For me, this is not normal," she said. "For kids in other countries, that’s very normal."
To raise awareness of the 793 million undernourished people around the world, UF Children Beyond Our Borders members, from left, Madeline Bieda, Gabriela Garcia, Manuela Gutierrez and Alexa Moore challenge students Nov. 16, 2015, on Plaza of the Americas to go a day with only a cup of rice and water. “The power of education breaks the cycle of social injustice,” said Bieda, a 21-year-old psychology senior.