The 30 Hour Famine
By Alisha, age 23, Massachusetts
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
The 30 Hour Famine is powered by World Vision, which is a leading Christian ministry that serves people in need in nearly 100 countries. Every year students around the world come together through the famine to help feed a number of hungry children and to help families overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that is dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and discrimination. World Vision works with people of all ages to build a better world for children in third world countries. It is a group of people fighting hunger together and loving God at the same time.
Some so-called 'experts' want us to believe that there is nothing we can do to fight hunger. Well, we have proven them wrong over the years because we have helped many kids survive and grow up.
Want proof? Since The 30 Hour Famine program started in 1992, the number of children who die each and every day from hunger and disease has been cut significantly - in fact, by one-third - dropping from 34,000 to 22,000. That's due in part to a lot of people around the world doing fundraising and awareness events such as this. Since 1992, World Vision's 30 Hour Famine has raised more than $150 million to fight world hunger. Each year about 200,000 young people participate in The 30 Hour Famine.
The 'experts' say the problem is too hard, too complicated, too big. They only see what is right in front of them and not what could be for the kids right now, at this very moment. They have underestimated the power of large groups of caring people. We, the common people, know what it takes to fight something like this, and we know what it's like to win this fight. We will overcome this, not by just sitting down and watching it pass us by, but with love, but not just any kind of Hollywood-branded love, but Jesus' version of love when he turned a few fish and five loaves of bread into food for thousands.
This is what the 30 Hour Famine is all about. We go hungry to experience just a taste of what it is like for these children, who go hungry for more than a mere 30 hours. We won't be idle passers-by while as many as 11,000 children will die today from hunger and malnutrition. We know what it's like to win and we will win as a team.
How does the "famine" work? Well, that's easy. We go hungry so others can overcome hunger. The money raised from people sponsoring our 30 Hour Famine will help those in real need. As little as $30 will feed one child for a month. Not only do we better understand what it's like to be hungry, we are helping to save children's lives. 1 John 3:18 says, "Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." By doing something small and raising even $30, one child will be fed for a month, and with others' help, survive.
Being a sponsor to even just one child will change their life. Being a World Vision sponsor, we are connected to a child who will know us by name, write to us, and more importantly, experience our love and care in the most amazing ways. The gift sent to these children will not only show them that we care, but it will demonstrate God's love by providing the child and his/her family and community access to life's basic needs, such as clean water, nutritious food, health care, economic opportunity, and an education.
Every dollar raised will help a child and his/her family in some way. Think of a number - got it? Now multiply that by $30 - that is how much it would take to help feed and care for that many children for an entire month.
Want to go bigger? Want to help all year long? Multiply that number by $360. To give you some perspective on what a few dollar amounts will do for these children, $30 is enough to help feed and care for a child for one month; $90 will help feed and care for a child for three months; $180 will help feed and care for a child for six months; $360 is enough to help feed and care for a child for an entire year. Inspired yet? Well, here is something more to think about - if you get just 12 people you know to each donate $30, you will have reached the goal of $360 and can help one child for a whole year.
Hungry for more facts?
- Every day, as many as 11,000 kids die from hunger and causes related to hunger. Some starve; some get sick and waste away, their hungry bodies too weak to fight disease.
- Around the world, 925 million people are hungry - that's roughly 3 times the population of the United States.
- No child should die from an empty stomach; the real injustice is that practically every one of these deaths is 100% preventable.
Where is hunger located? Here are a few current trouble spots:
- Zambia: 1 in 2 kids' growth will be forever stunted by hunger and malnutrition.
- Afghanistan: war and disasters have left 1 of 3 people hungry.
- Bangladesh: 3 million children are literally wasting away.
- Bolivia: 2 in 3 people live in poverty, making it the poorest country in South America.
- Kenya: drought has left more than a million people hungry.
Romans 12:21 says: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
It is so sad to see this many children going hungry and dying every single day. It is people like you and me who can help and turn this all around and put a smile on a child, even if it is only one child. Everyone wants to be some kind of hero, a hero to someone else, right? You can be a hero by becoming a sponsor. There are children waiting and dying every minute of every day.
For the past two years (this year will make the third year) I have been participating in the 30 Hour Famine. Although it is a serious matter, it doesn't mean we don't have some fun. In the years I have done it, I have met some pretty cool people, and although they are somewhat younger than me, I have made some lifelong friends.
I remember the first year I got involved. I knew that many people were hungry and dying, but I didn't know the numbers and never really understood the problem until I watched a video that showed us children and their families in third world countries suffering and wasting away. It is a devastating sight to see, and it breaks my heart every time. It breaks my heart to watch the video and know what really is going on over there, and I feel that God has spoken to me and through me to do the 30 Hour Famine and raise as much money as I can to help these children and their families.
So what does one do during those 30 hours without eating? Participants in the Famine stop eating at 10 pm that first night - usually it's a Friday night - and we don't eat again till Sunday morning. We spend the weekend at my friends' church, distracting ourselves pretty well throughout the 30 hours so we aren't thinking about food and our empty stomachs. We watch a video about the 30 Hour Famine. After the video is over, we have a discussion about it. While discussing the video, we start to plan what we want to put onto posters for our presentation the next morning in church. This part is fun because we are each partnered with someone and get a specific topic to talk about and do a little research on. Whatever the topic, whomever our partner, we have to work together to put some information together to present the next morning.
We also have some fun throughout the 30 hours. We play games, tell stories, and watch movies. Our favorite game to play is Sardines; but we don't play that until it's really dark out, which makes it more fun to play. By the time we are all done and worn out, it is about 1 am on Sunday morning and we have to be up 6 or 7 hours later for what we've all been waiting for - breakfast!
It's Sunday morning, and now that we have had something to eat, it's time to go into church and present our posters and information to the congregation. This takes us about 10-15 minutes, from start to finish, and by the time it's over, there are a few people standing and applauding, while others are in tears. To see someone cry tugs at the heartstrings. It is definitely an amazing sight to see someone stand and applaud, just as much as it is to see someone with tears running down their face.
I am so thankful to be a part of something like this. You only live once, so why not make it worth living and make the most of it? At least, if you die tomorrow, you'll know that you did something; you did all you could to save someone less fortunate than yourself. In the end, it always makes me feel better when I know that I have helped someone out, even if it is in the smallest of ways. Just standing there and doing nothing but watching your life pass you by will only make matters worse. Just standing still can make a lifetime disappear quickly and it can crush any dream of survival for these children who are suffering every day.