Youth take part in 30-hour famine

Published 6:56 am Monday, March 22, 2010

About a dozen area teens gave up food for 30 hours this weekend to learn how some of the world’s poorest people live.

The students, from Crane Community Chapel’s youth group known as “refuge,” took part in a 30-hour famine and service project to raise awareness about hunger in third world countries.

“It’s just to make them aware of what goes on,” said Colleen Hoeft, youth director at Crane Community Chapel.

The youth group raised money by gathering pledges around the community for World Hunger. They raised about $500 by Saturday, and were planning to raise more money on Sunday at church.

Along with learning about what it feels like to face hunger, the youth group members were also learning to serve others. The students worked at the Salvation Army Thrift Store from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. cleaning shelves, sweeping and picking up garbage outside.

Dillon Erickson, 14, Aaron Burnham, Hoeft’s adopted son, and Nicholas Severson, 17, swept and picked up garbage outside the Salvation Army.

Nicholas said he’s not used to not eating, and he said the famine was difficult. The boys said working kept their mind off their hunger, but when they stopped to think about their meal later in the day, it made them hungry.

To help make the work fun, the boys named their brooms Donna, Betsy and Omega Hot Momma 777. They also named their dust pan Lopez, and their garbage can Big Red.

The group started their famine around lunchtime Friday. All the members were supposed to stop eating at lunch, and they didn’t eat until around 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The youth group came together around 8 p.m. Friday night for a lock in and events at the church. Refuge members participated in games and challenges to learn about hunger and how people live in third world countries. For example, they had to wash their feet in dirty water, and then the refuge members had to move and handle the dirty water.

During the activities, Nicholas said he had to pretend his left hand was burnt. Normally, when your hand is burnt you can just go to the hospital, but Nicholas said many people don’t have access to the medical facilities we have here in the U.S.

Alyssa Kuehn, 16 said it was difficult for her to use the dirty water, and she learned to appreciate the doctors and medicine we have available to us.

On Saturday, Alyssa volunteered cleaning shelves around the thrift store with Whitney Loverink, 12.

They also had a “food scramble” where people had to find food and then fight over it with other people.

During the night’s activities, all the students picked cards that listed an ailment they’d have for the night, like a broken leg or blindness. They then had to perform activities with the ailment.

Dillon was lucky and picked a card saying he was healthy, but he was still thankful for the things we have in the U.S.

“We appreciate what we’ve got here, and it kind of gives us insight of why we should help them out,” Dillon said.

The refuge youth group has done the 30-hour fast before, but Hoeft said this was the first time most of the students participated in the event.

The youth group also plans to do yard work for the elderly later this spring, as they raise money for a summer mission trip.

The youth group members were mostly eighth through 12th-grade students.