This weekend me and about 30 youth and adults from my church are going to go 30 hours without eating. Why are we doing this, you may ask and, on top of that, why am I telling you about it. I assure you that I am not telling you to bring favorable eyes upon us or to gain fame or attention for ourselves. Instead, we want to bring attention to other people and an issue that is plaguing our world: hunger and poverty.
Hunger and poverty affect our world more than we sometimes realize. More than 26,000 children under the age of 5 die every day; most of them from preventable diseases.* So, what are we really doing by not eating for 30 hours? How is that really going to help anyone else?
For the past few months our youth have been asking people to “sponsor” them while they fast for 30 hours, for at least $1/hour = $30 total. $30 will feed one child for an entire month. I spent more than that last night taking a friend out to dinner. All of the funds that we raise will go directly to helping feed children under the age of 5.
We also want to raise awareness. This awareness has to start with us. Ghandi is given credit for saying, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” While not eating for 30 hours our youth and adults participating will begin to actually feel a small percentage of what thousands of people feel on a daily basis. The second way that we will raise awareness works to raise more awareness in ourselves and in our community. On Saturday night of this weekend we are going to sleep outside in carboard boxes on the front lawn of our church. Now, I know that this is a bit cliche, but it will give our youth, most of whom have never needed anything in their lives, another tiny glimpse of what hunger and poverty can feel like. This part of our experience is not meant to belittle or make fun of those who are actually homeless (as I know many homeless people do not live in cardboard boxes, though many do), but rather to affect change in the lives of the youth and adults who will participate this weekend. Also, this will be a powerful visual to the people that drive by and most of all to our church members as they see this on the front lawn of their church when they drive in Sunday morning. It will be eye sore, for sure. That is the point.
I looked for a video to put in this post, but decided not to because all of the videos seem to have pictures of African children with their ribs protruding. While this is an important image and one that does not need to be surpressed, I think it allows us to still see hunger and poverty as a far away issue, one that doesn’t directly impact and affect us. Hunger and poverty are certainly real in Africa, but they are also real in my town: Shelby, NC.
This weekend we are taking very small steps to change our perception and to affect change in the world. We are asking of ourselves and of our church to give out of our excess (even as we are in a financial slump, we still have way more excess than most people) to help others. WorldVision’s theme for the 30 Hour Famine is “Will Starve for Food.” We are starving so that others can eat. How will you affect change and impact your world?
* Facts taken from 30HR Famine.