Students and other volunteers sorted and packed clothing, sewing supplies and linens with Orphan Grain Train during the service project component of the 30-Hour Famine.
Fasting To Feed
Around the world, 795 million people suffered from chronic undernourishment from 2014 to 2016, according to the World Hunger Education Service. From March 31 to April 1, four youth group members and one adult leader from Galilee Lutheran Church in Pasadena participated in 30-Hour Famine, a fundraising and experiential learning event organized by World Vision, a global Christian humanitarian organization.
The goal of the event is to educate students about poverty. Kids are encouraged to give up food for 30 hours to give food to those in need around the world. World Vision provides a box of supplies with games, activities, ideas and a flash drive with videos for the event. This year’s theme was refugees.
The event is centered on Isaiah 58:6-7, which says, “This is the kind of fasting I want … Share your food with the hungry.”
Jean Hase, a member of Galilee Lutheran Church, was the adult leader of 30-Hour Famine. “It’s good for our kids because they have a lot, even the kids who don’t think they have a lot … they do compared to those dealing with disaster and war,” Hace said.
Before the event, students told others about the 30-hour famine and raised money to benefit World Vision. On Friday, March 31, the students began fasting after lunch at school and met at the church at 7:00pm. From 7:00pm to 9:00pm, students participated in educational games.
One member of the youth group, Alexandra Lichtner, has been participating in the 30-hour famine since sixth grade. “The first time I saw it at our church, I was like, ‘This is something that I want to do,” Alexandra said.
One of the activities was Market Mayhem, a card game in which each suit represents a different necessity, such as vitamins or food. A certain number of each suit is required for survival. The goal is to trade with others in the community in order to attain the necessary resources for survival. However, if there are not enough people in the simulated community, students may struggle to gain necessities.
“It really stuck out this year because when we did that simulation; there was such a small group of us and there were not a lot of resources to go around for everyone,” Alexandra said. “There were less people willing to share and less people willing to give up what they had to help their neighbor.”
Each year, the group chooses a different country to focus on. This year, they chose to focus on Ghana. They learned about the culture and did activities to simulate what day-to-day life would look like for many in Ghana.
One of the ways they were able to see into daily life in Ghana was through an activity that included giving the students identities. The identities could involve different handicaps. Some were blind and had to put tape over their glasses. Others couldn’t use their hands.
“It is always very difficult because you are limited on what you can put into your body, but what really helps you get through that is thinking, ‘OK, some people live their entire life like this,’” Alexandra said. “If they live their entire life like this, I can live for 30 hours like this.”
On Friday night, students watched an educational video, and at 8:00am on Saturday, the youth woke up to do a service project with Orphan Grain Train, a charity that delivers items domestically and internationally to people who suffer from natural disasters, war and famine. Students sorted and packed clothing, sewing supplies and linens.
“It’s humbling and rewarding to see that your work will help people all over the country and around the world,” Alexandra said.
They also packed Easter eggs for the church’s Easter egg hunt, which was difficult for some of the students, as they were not yet allowed to eat.
Each year, Galilee Lutheran Church includes a fun activity in 30-Hour Famine. This year, the group went bowling. “Bowling is the worst one because the pizza smells so good,” Hace said.
When the activity-packed famine is finished, the church holds a feast. Parents bring some of the students’ favorite foods. This year’s feast included pizza, pepperoni bread, chili and more.
“After 30 hours, your stomach is smaller and you don’t eat as much. We always go home with leftovers,” Hace said.
While the problems in the world may seem too great to make a difference, $40 provides food for a month, vaccines, some medical care and some education. The students at Galilee Lutheran Church have raised enough to feed 62.5 children per year over the 12 to 15 years the church has participated in the 30-hour famine.