30-Hour Famine raises awareness

On March 1-2, 19 young people in grades six through 12 and five adults participated in World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine, eating no food for 30 hours, only drinking juice and bullion, at North Warren Presbyterian Church.

This was done to raise money for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. It serves people in the United States and overseas, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. The theme was “Feed Your 5,000,” based on the Biblical story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. The fast was ended with a “break fast” on Saturday evening which was prepared by volunteer adults and youth.

The group not only consumed just liquids, but engaged in Bible studies, learned about the need, watched videos of children who benefited from World Vision’s services, prayed, worshipped and performed service projects during the 30 hours. Their awareness of serving others through sacrifice was heightened by this experience.

Part of Saturday was spent making and stringing paper fish to hang in the church sanctuary. Each “fish” represented $2 that was raised in the effort. On Saturday, participants traveled to the Wilder Museum in Irvine to spruce up the unheated building to get it ready for its spring opening. They dusted, vacuumed, put away items, and worked on cataloging items.

During the 30 hours, participants learned about hunger and famine around the world and participated in a tribal game, focusing on what it is like to be a refugee. They were broken into tribes and assigned a real child’s identity and handicap. Focusing on hunger “hotspots” in Africa, they went through several exercises/games which simulated hardships people around the world face such as a lack of water, food distribution issues, and foraging for basic needs. Each game had a debriefing session using scripture. The participants also investigated causes for world hunger and were introduced via video to a woman in Kenya who has to walk hours each way to get water from a muddy river and children who eat moldy pumpkins as their main food.

Throughout the weekend, eyes were opened not only to the overwhelming needs, but to the awareness that things can be done to help those suffering from disease and famine around the world. The group had a real education of hunger as they “lived” it, although they knew that at the end, there would be food, while many people worldwide don’t have that assurance. A response to the weekend from one of the youths was, “The famine made me realize how blessed I am to have running water and a constant supply of food.” Another stated, “By doing the famine, I experienced 30 hours of their whole life. But, also by doing the famine, I am doing something to change it.” Anne Ward, North Warren Presbyterian Church Youth Coordinator, said, “I’m very proud of the young people and adults who were willing to give of themselves and contribute to a greater world cause. They stepped out of their comfort zones to make a difference.”

Participants included Anne Ward, Buddy Ward, Deborah Ward, Ruth Morrison, and John Caito, adults, and youths Dylan Antonio, Olivia Ashbaugh, Stephen Ashbaugh, Fletcher Blumquist, Jordan Bullock, Adrianna Gee, Mackenzie Gravelle, Cade Johnson, Kenny Lasecki, Justine Lascecki, James Lawson, Trey Loomis, Paige McCullough, Neil Morrison, Aldyn Poston, Cade Poston, Robin Thomas, James Wilson, and Rebecca Wilson.

The $2,500 goal was far exceeded by $1,500 with more than $4,000 collected. This will feed more than 10 children for a year $360 per child per year. In the ten years that North Warren Presbyterian has been doing the famine, more than $28,000 has been raised by the church for World Vision.

“Although the need is still great, the yearly effort by the worldwide 30 Hour Famine shows that a great deal can be done when many participate,” Ward said. “We can overcome hunger with love.”