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Springville youths work to end hunger, one child at a time

DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO DECLARE? — Organizer Kate Werner of The First United Methodist Church manned the customs station, where students gave up their cell phone and other technology and received ID cards. Pictured are Abby Roy and Mikayla Black, checking in to the 30 Hour Famine. Photos by Jessie Owen.

SPRINGVILLE — A collaborative effort by young people from The First Presbyterian Church and First United Methodist Church of Springville resulted in the raising of $5,000 to help the hungry and a greater awareness of worldwide poverty and hunger.

Organizers Kate Werner of The First United Methodist Church and Arianne Johnson of The First Presbyterian Church welcomed young people to the second annual World Vision 30 Hour Famine, on April 12 and 13.

Upon arrival at the event, held at The First Presbyterian Church, participants relinquished their technology at customs and received, in return, ID badges that included their new names, tribes and handicaps.

The young people also gave up solid food, for the duration of the famine. They were allowed to consume juice, during the event.

SYMBOLISM — The 30 Hour Famine participants took turns, drawing henna tattoos on each other, as part of the evening’s events.

According to Johnson, each young person participated in the fundraising weekend, while symbolically enduring his or her assigned calamity. She explained that a participant who had a “broken leg” would go through the 30 Hour Famine with an apparatus on his or her limb, that would keep the leg from bending. Some youths were assigned the inability to speak, hear or see, while others were experiencing “fever” or “extreme exhaustion.”

Johnson said that going without food, in addition to facing handicaps, allowed participants to experience the struggles refugees around the world go through, as part of their daily lives.

On April 12, to kick off the evening, participants decorated themselves and each other with henna tattoos, to give the event a tribal feel. Following tribal games and devotions, the young people silently participated in a prayer walk, in the church sanctuary. “This gave them the opportunity to do a lot of heart searching,” Johnson said.

Various juices, representing different needs, were offered to the young people, after the prayer walk. The participants could choose the flavor that represented needs they saw, in themselves.

BE THE CHANGE — Several 30 Hour Famine participants hold up their water bottles, which gave them their new identifications, tribe names and handicaps.

The young people slept in cardboard huts, in the church hall. They were sent to bed in silence, at 12:30 a.m.

Johnson woke the teens up at 8 a.m. and they were sent out, into the community, to do mission work, at area senior citizen’s homes.

The famine ended with a worship service and communion, followed by a meal on Saturday evening, hosted by the local congregation.

“At the heart of it, our goal is to empower youth to make a difference, like Christ did, by feeding those in need,” Johnson said.

PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES — Each youth who was involved in the 30 Hour Famine was given an ID card with his or her new name, tribe and handicap, which they had to “endure,” until the end of the event. Calamities included broken legs, blindness, the inability to speak, exhaustion and fever.

One child younger than the age of 5 dies from hunger-related causes, every 13 seconds, for a total of more than 20,000 children, each day. As of press time, the local 30 Hour Famine had raised $5,000, through the Flamingo Flu in town, a Kiss the Cow contest and donations, to go toward feeding the hungry.

OUTSIDE THE BOX — Students slept in boxes, during the famine, to get a more authentic experience.

“There are kids, toddlers and babies who are starving, all the time,” Johnson said. “There’s no end for it. The chance to save one child is so rewarding. But it’s not just feeding them, for a moment. With World Vision, they teach the people the skills to continue to feed themselves, as well.”

The 30 Hour Famine is sponsored by World Vision, an organization with a stated mission of working with children, families and their communities, worldwide, to reach their full potential, by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

For more information on the famine and World Vision’s activities, visit or call The First Presbyterian Church at 592-7962.


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