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Youth group gains a hunger to serve humanity

February 24, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - Dinnertime Friday night and lunch on Saturday might have been called a "happy meal," but for the youths participating in the 30-hour famine at Blair's Valley Church of God, the choices were limited to water or Gatorade.

"I realize you should always be grateful for what you have," said Heather Fridley, 14, as she began her 27th hour without food Saturday afternoon.

Heather was one of about 20 youths who participated in the event Friday and Saturday through Blair's Valley Church of God.

She signed on at the urging of her friend, Kristina Faith, 14, who is a member of the church's youth group.

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As the final hours of the fast wound down, the youths, ranging in age from 11 years old through college age, were beginning to look forward to the planned potluck dinner they were to share with family and friends at 6:30 p.m. - the 30th hour.

A two-year veteran of the 30-hour famine, Kristina said the hardest part for her was when she and several other youths went to Martin's Food Market on Dual Highway to try to buy enough food for an entire family for a month - with just $20.

What was hard was being in a store filled with food and not being able to eat any of it, she said.

Another facet of the project had the youths feigning several disabilities such as broken legs, blindness and deafness, and seeing what the disabilities can be like for people around the world.

Organizers Tammy Miller and Carissa Troutman have been offering this unique opportunity to the church youth for five years. The youths who participated in this year's famine broke up into three tribes of about seven members each, Miller said.

A combination of activities at the church's Clopper Grove center and around Washington County kept them busy for the 30-hour event.

One group went to the International House of Pancakes, introduced themselves to the customers and told them what they were doing. Others went to the Washington County Courthouse and sang the national anthem, Miller said.

Missionaries showed slides and talked about their experiences in parts of the world where famine is an everyday challenge.

Everyone spent Friday night inside the community center in makeshift shelters they built Friday afternoon, Miller said. There were challenges of all sorts through the weekend, including one last sacrifice at the end of the project.

"When the dinner is ready, the youths must serve someone else before they can eat," Miller said.

The 30-hour famine is meant to be the spark that fires up a person for a lifetime of reaching out to neighbors in need, whether they're across the street or around the globe.

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