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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Sharon Heights youth raise world hunger fundscomment (0)

April 26, 2001

By Amista Rowell McMath


The youth of Sharon Heights Baptist Church, Pinson, recently participated in an international effort to raise money for the hungry.
   
During a 30-hour famine from Friday, March 16, at 4:30 p.m. until the following day at 10:30 p.m., 20 youth and five youth workers collected $1,573.62 for World Vision’s annual event. In addition to the money raised from the event, blankets, pillows and clothes were donated. 
   
The Thirty-Hour Famine is an annual event developed by World Vision, a nonprofit Christian organization dedicated to serving millions of malnourished and impoverished people. By obtaining sponsors and receiving donations, churches minister to those less fortunate in 88 countries around the world.
   
Michael “Opie” Thorin, youth director of Sharon Heights, said the event is geared toward youth.
   
“I think the biggest reason (World Vision focuses on youth involvement for this project) is that there are a lot of youth who have a soft spot in their hearts for the less fortunate,” Thorin said.
   
Thorin’s group not only went without food for 30 hours, but several youth also slept in cardboard boxes weathering a temperature just above the freezing point.
   
“There were no complaints from the youth,” Thorin noted. “It was a genuine fast, with their hearts in the right place.”
   
During the event, youth participated in worship and education sessions and they completed a community service project. Working together, the youth group cleaned the yard of an elderly lady. The group treated the event as more than a fund-raiser, Thorin said. “They weren’t just here to raise money. They were here to make a difference in people’s lives.”
   
Lindsay Swane, a member of the youth group, said the event was a bonding experience.“Through the fasting, our youth group became so much closer,” she said. “We’re like a family now.”
   
The youth cooperatively made a decision to sponsor a 6-year-old girl in Qui Quijana, Peru, for $22 a month. They wanted to use their own money to help someone less fortunate than themselves.
   
“There are so many little things we can do for people, and it changes our lives in the process,” Swane said.
   
Another youth group member, Matt Hall, realizes that 30 hours barely allows for a glimpse into the lives of those in need. “We didn’t really experience what they feel,” he said. “We fasted for 30 hours, and they are forced to go without for days.”
   
Hall said the event allowed him to see his own blessings more clearly. “It made me realize what we have and what we take for granted every day,” he said. “We have food on the table and a bed to sleep in, and some people don’t have that.”
   
The youth gained a new appreciation for the simple luxuries in their lives.
   
Thorin reminded them, “You have hope. You’ll have a pizza tomorrow night and a warm bed. Those who don’t have a home, they don’t have that hope.”
   
The youth group hopes to participate in the World Vision event next year.
   
Thorin hopes to unite with other area churches for greater participation. He also hopes that other churches around the state will participate next year in an effort to combat the rising rates of the homeless and the hungry around the world.
    
If interested in learning more about participating in the World Vision Thirty-Hour Famine, call 1-800-7-FAMINE or visit the organization’s Web site at www.30hourfamine.org.

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