This past weekend, 35 youth and several adults banded together in support of World Vision, a relief organization passionate about addressing the issue of world hunger. Youth participants (and some of the adult leaders) began fasting after lunch on Friday. Their weekend consisted of a lock-in with worship, reflections, prayer, games, and service projects that would help restock our food pantry.
When participants arrived on Friday night, they worked together within tribes with the goal of earning money toward the purchase of the dinner they would eat after 30 hours of fasting. Pastor Arlo said that the point of the money was to show how hard it can be to work for a long time just to earn a few dimes, which is probably not going to be enough to buy a decent meal. Prayer, reflections and worship service with music from our 30HF Praise Band helped keep the students busy.
On Saturday students worked within their tribes to clear branches, leaves and debris. This was difficult, dirty work on a cold, rainy day. They also drove all over Metuchen collecting food that people had left by their front doors for the Food Pantry. On average, the food pantry provides groceries for around 18 families a week, or about 85 people, many of them children. The work the 30-Hour Famine participants do to help make sure the pantry is restocked is significant to the success of this ministry.
Armed with recipes printed from the 30-Hour Famine website that show healthful, inexpensive ways to prepare meals, all of the participants walked to A&P. Two students from each tribe went inside with their bags of coins, while the rest waited outside in the cold rain for more than a half hour. Pastor Arlo said this helped illustrate how difficult it can be just to get a bowl of rice. When you’re experiencing how this truly feels, it can have an impact on how you treat those who are less fortunate. At about 5:45, Pastor Arlo called the tribes together for prayer and a worship service, with Holy Communion at 6, which broke the 30-Hour fast.
The plan of this year’s Famine was to get students to see how truly valuable it can be to provide tools to a community that will help them feed themselves for the long term. Money toward the purchase of a goat and chickens can help feed a family for years. Education on farming and irrigation techniques can sustain a village for decades. Because in the end, while our students have truly internalized what it feels like to really be hungry, they all know that in the real world where hunger exists on a daily basis, 30 hours without food is routine. Pastor Arlo quoted from the book of Micah, chapter 6, verse 8:
He has shown all you people what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
You can still support our youth by donating to fight hunger. Contributions of any amount are appreciated, are matched four times by the U.S. Government, and will save lives. If you are sponsoring a specific youth, please add their name to the memo on your donation.
To donate, send a check to First Presbyterian Church, 270 Woodbridge Ave, Metuchen, NJ 08840, and write on the memo line, “30 Hour Famine.” Or, click here to donate. Keep in mind that our food pantry is always in need of donations of food. We are thankful that many people in the community regularly pick up a few extra items at the grocery store and drop their grocery bags off at the church office. Click here for a shopping list. Thank you for your continued support!