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Teens to fast so poor may eat

February 22, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Members of a Waynesboro youth group will be hungry and begging for money this weekend.

And the teens say they're excited for the chance.

"I think it's a major thing to touch the people who are here ... to open eyes," said Macie Bechtel, 15.

She and 13 youths from The Presbyterian Church of Waynesboro signed up to participate in the 30 Hour Famine to benefit World Vision, an organization that feeds and cares for children in poverty-afflicted regions. World Vision asked groups across the nation to plan activities this weekend.

Locally, the teenagers from The Presbyterian Church of Waynesboro plan to assist New Hope Shelter in its cleaning day, panhandle outside Waynesboro Mall and participate in a progressive devotional. They also have promised to only consume water and fruit juice from 8 a.m. Saturday to 2 p.m. Sunday.

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"I hope they get an idea of what the underprivileged have to deal with on a regular basis, the people in Third World countries," said Lori Sutton, one of the adult volunteers.

Some of the church's teens joined in the 30 Hour Famine last year - the first time the church elected to participate. Now, the veterans are looking to be more focused and raise more money this time around.

"It's really hit home with me this year," said Sarah Brown, 16.

The youths agreed to set a goal of $1,200, and as of Tuesday, they were well on their way to meeting that by soliciting teachers, family, friends and church members. The adult volunteers want to challenge area businesses to step up like the private donors.

All money raised will go to World Vision projects.

In addition to fundraising in advance, the youths will beg from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday outside Waynesboro Mall. They have made cans labeled with the question, "Is 30 hours too much to give to a child who is hungry?"

The number of hours in the famine reflects the money World Vision spends on each child monthly.

"Thirty dollars can feed a child for a whole month," said Brown.

She and the other youths estimated their families spend 10 to 20 times that much on food each month, so surviving on a dollar of food a day would be a dramatic change, they said.

The teenagers anticipate the 30 hours of fasting will be difficult, but said they are relying on prayer from themselves and the congregation. Brown, who has fasted before, said that experience is important to "really get the feeling of it."

"It's basically prayer and going on faith," said Bechtel.

The youths have been reading about the program and watched a video about children's lives in Kenya.

The Rev. Lee Hahnlen, interim pastor at the church, said World Vision is a well-respected organization that he learned about when his parents sponsored orphans in the 1950s.

World Vision "combines the gospel with touching people's physical lives as well," said Hahnlen.

Anyone who wants to sponsor the youth can call the church office at 717-762-1841.

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