Local youth ministry raises awareness, funds for hunger relief
On April 29th, 25 youth and 10 adults scattered across the Main Street Baptist Church parking lot to build cardboard structures with duct tape. Despite gathering clouds and gusty winds, the youth looked forward to the challenge before them: spending the night in a cardboard “hut.”
The youth were embarking on a World Vision program called the 30 Hour Famine, a “no-eat overnighter” that raises awareness of world hunger. The youth group committed to drinking only juice and water for 30 hours, to get a glimpse of a life of hunger.
The boxes represented conditions some children across the world live in. They were hot and uncomfortable and provided insufficient protection against the night’s rain. Before dawn, lightning forced participants inside the church’s sturdy walls.
Over the weekend, the youth also assembled 100 hygiene bags for people experiencing homelessness, created 75 encouragement cards for children at Dell Children’s Medical Center, and visited residents at the Wesleyan at Estrella. The event concluded Saturday evening with a traditional Ugandan meal, since Uganda is one of the countries that will benefit from the youths’ donations to World Vision.
Youth ministers Brad Ballard and Mark Rich planned the 30 Hour Famine activities to encourage the youth to think of how others around the world live. “In our culture, we live inside a bubble,” Brad says. “We’re so independent that we don’t have sympathy for other people.”
“When you’re put in other people’s shoes, you get to experience that,” Mark adds. “It’s too easy for us to take things for granted, like a bottle of water or food in our grocery stores.”
They hoped that spending a night without a bed would give students compassion for those who don’t have the access even to basic necessities. During the weeks leading up to 30 Hour Famine, Brad and Mark educated the youth about hungry kids around the world. The youth, excited about actively helping others in need, collected donations to send to World Vision to help address hunger.
“It made me feel sad to hear what those kids had to go through, and like I need to do more,” says sixth-grader Christalyn. She urged people in her neighborhood and at schools and businesses to donate to World Vision. By the start of the event, Christalyn had raised $500. Together, the youth raised more than $4,000, enough to help World Vision feed 11 children for a year.
Learn more about World Vision and the 30 Hour Famine at www.30hourfamine.org.