Local youth part of worldwide initiative at churches

Silverline will perform at Faith Church as part of 30 Hour Famine, a church lock-in and service project.

Youth from local churches are going to put themselves in the shoes of others for 30 hours this weekend — the shoes of those who cope with severe hunger.

The worldwide initiative is called the 30 Hour Famine, which was started years ago by a group called World Vision. While Faith Evangelical Free Church — which previously participated in the event that encourages youth to fast for 30 hours and raise money to combat world hunger — St. Olaf Lutheran and Lyle’s Our Savior’s Lutheran are jumping on board too.

AGAPE will also perform at Faith Church.

“It’s been kind of a tradition in our church for sometime,” said Greg Atkins, youth pastor at Faith Church.

Participants — roughly 60 middle- and high-schoolers — will begin fasting after their school lunches today and continue for 30 hours when they go to Faith Church, 1800 12th St. SW. Each participant is urged to donate at least $30 toward World Vision, as well. Every dollar donated will feed one starving child for one day. Ask Atkins, and he’ll say just how small of a price that is to pay, as it’s about the cost of a few cups of coffee.

“It’s not that much when you think about it,” he said. “It’s sacrificing two movie nights with my wife. Thirty dollars to us, it’s worth it to feed a kid for a month.”

Atkins has participated in 30 Hour Famine at Faith Church and while he lived in the Twin Cities area. This year, Atkins and Ashley Corbett, director of children, youth and family ministry at St. Olaf, coordinated free entertainment to draw in more participants. Rock bands AGAPE and Silverline will play at Faith Church, and students will be locked in from 8 p.m. until the following day. Then the students will go to the Twin Cities to pack meals for Feed My Starving Children, which sends meals to impoverished regions.

For incentive, the students of the leadership team at Faith will wear their parents’ clothes for a week if participants raise $1,500. If they raise $2,190, Atkins will shave his head for the students to sign, and Corbett will die her hair pink.

While the lock-in is nearly booked, Atkins still encourages local youth to attend the concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday and donate toward the cause. World hunger isn’t something Atkins takes lightly. He looks to the Bible, specifically Matthew: 25 for guidance, which tells people to go and help the needy.

“We take that scripture pretty seriously,” Atkins said. “We know that doing good is saying we have to engage in helping people, especially people who are poor. It’s a major part of who God wants us to be in this world, be helpers and lovers of those less fortunate than us.”

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