Church group fasts for famine relief


North Hagerstown High School sophomore Danielle Danley, believes one person can make a difference.

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Danley of Maugansville, became aware of the plight of starving children throughout the world after reading a magazine article. She decided to do something about it.

A member of Salem Reformed Church, Hagerstown, the 16-year-old organized a 30-hour hunger awareness fund-raiser which garnered about $3,000 for World Vision, a nonprofit, Christian famine-relief organization.

Held from noon Saturday until 6 p.m. on Sunday, the event included Danley, 13 members of the church's Salem Senior Youth Fellowship group and six adults.


After securing individual sponsors, participants went without food for 30 hours. They stayed overnight at the church and spent time praying, singing hymns, holding vespers, playing games and working around the church.

"I was hungry," Danley said. "But when I thought about it, it seemed insignificant compared to everyone we would be helping."

Danley personally raised $550, which makes her eligible for an overseas study tour, she said.

When the teen approached her youth-group leader, Teresa Swain, with the idea for the fund-raiser, she wasn't sure if others would want to take part.

"They were really receptive," Danley said. "We took a vote and it was unanimous."

"I'm so proud of them doing this. I thought how proud God must be that each of us are trying to help another of his children," said Swain.

She added she was pleased with the financial support they received from the church members.

"They went above and beyond what we expected," Swain said. They started out the project with a goal of $1,200.

Last weekend's event was the first such fund-raiser for the church, she said. Danley said she hopes to make it an annual event.

"It really breaks your heart to know people are starving," said 15-year-old Hagerstown resident Alana Sowers, who took part in the fund-raiser.

She said she was hungry but felt good about being able to help.

At 6 p.m., the 20 participants broke their fast with a covered-dish feast provided by the parishioners.

During the meal they took time to discuss what they learned from the project and the feelings they experienced, she said.

"It was overwhelming," Danley said. "Knowing we helped others - it makes me feel warm inside."

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