SALT LAKE CITY – This weekend teens from Christ United Methodist Church are wrapping their minds, and their stomachs, around the issue of world hunger.
They’re taking part in a 30-hour famine, which is part of a national program sponsored by World Vision, a non-profit relief group. The goal is to raise money and awareness about an issue affecting families across the world, and right out their front doors.
“They are in our community, they are in your schools, they are all over the world,” Pastor Jean Schwien told the group at their opening meeting.
The teens started the fast Friday afternoon and will participate in a series of activities designed to give them a glimpse into live without food.
“It’s hard because you don’t eat for 30 hours,” says participant Alisa Simons. “But you have a lot of distractions and it ends up being a lot of fun, and you get to help people.”
World Vision estimates there are 925 million people worldwide without enough to eat. The teens get pledges for their part in the fast. Already the group has raised several hundred dollars.
“By fasting for 30 hours they’ll understand what these kids go through every day,” says famine coordinator Patsy Simons. “It kind of gives them ownership of it because they get to feel what the other kids are feeling.”
Organizers also set up obstacles to make it harder for the teens. A temptation room is set up with all kinds of snacks and sweets. Temptation room organizer Jon Jolley says it’s meant to be a challenge to resist the food, but it’s also part of the journey.
“They’ll come in here and they’ll see that and they’ll go, ‘No, I’m better than that,’” says Jolley. “When they get through this they’ll feel better about themselves having done that.”
This is the sixth year Christ United Methodist Church has participated in the 30-Hour Famine.