30 Hour Famine Ends and Students' Fight Against Hunger Continues

( [email protected] ) Mar 01, 2004 10:10 AM EST

Thousands of youth across the nation participated in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine, which is known as an international youth movement designed to fight hunger and change the lives of younger group, hungry children, and the world, from February 27 – 28 (Fri – Sat) in hope to make a significant impact on the problem of world hunger.

"It's a lot of fun when they come together like this," said Debbie Diederich, national director of the World Vision 30 Hour Famine. "We have 16,000 youth groups participating across the country; that's about a half a million students (nationwide). Ninety-five percent of them do it on this national date."

The movement has successfully brought forth the issue of hunger and hunger-related diseases around the world onto the land where the problem of hunger is not at the center of society with the abundance of food. By pledging to go without food for 30 hours and raising money to help other children who are suffering from hunger, young Christians of America were able to taste spiritually rewarding experience at the same time allowing them to grow in awareness of world hunger at a closer level.

Students not only went on fasting but also committed themselves to various community service activities during those hours and raised money by asking people for donations.

Students from Dublin High, San Ramon Valley High in Danville, California High in San Ramon and Amador High in Pleasanton who participated in the event helped out at homeless shelters in San Francisco and at Shepherd's Gate in Livermore and passed out hunger statistics to patrons of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," at local movie theaters. They also had social gathering playing games and holding a candlelight vigil.

"This is my second year. I think it's a really good thing," said Valley Christian 9th-grader, Madeleine Lietz. "Hopefully they'll keep us occupied," she added.

"Honestly, I'm here to fulfill my community service (requirement), but also to raise money for the kids," said Lapasinkski. "I'm trying to understand what it's like to be hungry."

In Chicago alone, 11,000 teens participated in the event. Cassandra Wyssbrod, marketing director at World Vision Chicago, said: “The whole idea with (fasting) is to give the kids a tangible reminder of why they’re doing what they’re doing. What we feel right now being hungry – there’s kids around the world and entire families who go hungry and feel that way every day.”

The event in Chicago also included community service. "We had kids painting and cleaning up trash at the YMCA," Wyssbrod said. "We had kids who were doing random acts of kindness — they were on the South Side at the grocery store helping elderly people carry their groceries out and load the car ... just really shocking people by just doing nice things just for the sake of being kind."

The money earned from the event will be used to help children poverty stricken nations including Ethiopia, Peru and Zimbabwe mainly to provide care for the children.

Students from northern California will be taking further action tomorrow by meeting with Assemblyman Guy Houston for an interview about aid in impoverished countries and awaken California youth to be more aware of the issue by petitioning the Governor’s Office in Sacramento. It is reported that their long-term goal is to use the power of technology to connect students to their peers in classrooms around the world, so that they may be more involved in alleviating poverty.