Youths fast to raise money to fight hunger

February 26, 2006|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL


Twenty-nine thousand dots on long strips of paper hang on the walls and ceiling of the Otterbein Youth Ministry Building. They appear to be a colorful, but unusual decoration, not particularly related to a teen activity center.

Around the large room, teens hung out drinking juice and talking with friends Saturday morning. Several spoke about not having eaten since the previous day and about the significance of the dots.

The 29,000 dots represent the children who die each day worldwide from hunger and hunger-related causes. That's more than 10.5 million children per year.

Teens in Greencastle, Chambersburg, Shippensburg and Waynesboro helped the world's hungry children by going without food for 30 hours this weekend during the 15th annual World Vision 30-Hour Famine. The event is designed to involve youth in raising awareness and money to fight hunger overseas and in the United States.


More than 600,000 teens across the United States participated, hoping to raise more than $8 million in sponsor pledges.

DeAnna Loudermilk, 14, was among the 63 teens fasting at Otterbein. A home-schooled student from State Line, Pa., DeAnna said she was "pumped and ready to go, not hungry at all" while preparing for her afternoon work assignment.

Her motivation for fasting, she said, was the Bible passage "that says we're supposed to help our brothers and sisters. Kids out there are dying because they're hungry. In America, we're picky eaters. If we don't like something, we don't eat it. Over there, they'd give anything" to have some of the food Americans have.

DeAnna surpassed her goal of raising $360.

Water and fruit juices were the only beverages consumed during the fast.

Adam James, 15, said he saw a video on world hunger and decided to get involved. He said he "forgot about eating" and was feeling fine, although he had gotten only four hours of sleep Friday night. He helped to sweep sidewalks along Main Street Saturday afternoon.

Friends Lindsay Conrad, 16, and Monique Coker, 17, both juniors at Waynesboro Area Senior High School, said they were feeling fine about 24 hours into the fast as they waited to be taken to their work assignment at New Hope Shelter.

"We're raising money for kids who don't have what we have," Monique said. "Lots of people are praying for us. The work projects make the time go faster."

Both had participated in the 30-hour fast a few years ago, they said.

Lindsay raised $130 and Monique raised $558 for world hunger relief. Thirty dollars feeds a Third World child for a month.

Other fast participants went to Camp Joy El, Rhodes Grove Campground, Pregnancy Ministries, Renfrew Park and Main Street in Waynesboro for their work projects.

After completing the assignments, the group planned to join other area teens for a worship service and to break their fast at 6 p.m. with rice and beans, a typical meal in Third World countries.

Founded in 1950, World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. World Vision maintains health, education, agriculture, water, sanitation and small business projects that help millions of people in nearly 100 countries.

Among the adults fasting and working with the Otterbein teens were Youth Pastor Craig Schuler and youth workers Janet Croson and Ralph Ward.

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