Youth to help fight hunger

TRIMONT – In what has become a tradition for the youth group at Trimont Covenant Church, members will participate this weekend in World Vision’s 30-hour famine to raise funds to feed needy children around the world.

This is the 10th year the youth group for junior and senior high school students has taken on the weekend fast. Beginning at noon today, participating students will begin the 30-hour trial in order to experience and understand what millions face every day. Funds are raised by each participant.

For eighth-graders Raven Jorgensen and Hallie Olson, this will be their second fast.

“The fact that if we raise just a little bit of money, it would help someone,” Jorgensen said of what prompted her to participate last year. “It felt good being able to help.”

The 30 hours isn’t just spent sitting around and focusing on being hungry. The church hosts an overnight event for the students with many activities.

“Last year, we did something called the ‘Tribe Games,'” Jorgensen recalled. “We all would have a disability and have to do things like jumping over a pole with this disability.”

“We could be blind, deaf, missing a limb,” Olson said. “They would use earplugs for if you were deaf, or a cast if you had a broken arm or leg, and you would realize how difficult it was with these disabilities.”

The highlight of the weekend for students is the “Amazing Grace Race,” which concentrates on helping those in need locally, and other random acts of kindness.

“Usually people know of other people in need,” Olson said. “We have several random tasks and we have three to four hours to complete the tasks.”

“We’ve baked cookies for people, which is really tough, since you’re really feeling the hunger by then,” Jorgensen said. “We’ve helped people who needed extra money. Just the generosity of it makes you feel so good.”

As the famine begins to affect how they function, students learn what it is like to have to go about your daily tasks while starving.

“We had to haul these water buckets with holes up the stairs and try not to spill,” Olson said. “We were all soaked.”

While participants aren’t eating, they are allowed liquids, such as water, juice and milk.

“Some of them chew gum,” Jorgensen said. “But that just makes it worse, in my opinion. It makes your body think, ‘I should be eating.'”

The group breaks the fast on Saturday evening with a pancake dinner.

“It was torture smelling them make the pancakes,” Jorgensen recalled last year.

“Most of them make it,” said youth group leader Jill Peterson. “There have been a few who started showing signs of distress, and we do have food on hand in case of emergencies.”

Adults supervising the youth don’t join in the famine, due to the need to be alert. But all involved walk away with knowledge and a feeling that they helped.

“It shows how other people feel when they have no food,” said sophomore Dakota Longton. “You go through and see how you feel having no food for 30 hours.”

“It’s a good experience,” added Alex Reese, a junior who will be doing his third fast this weekend. “You help out a lot of people, and it’s a good feeling knowing where the money goes. One dollar feeds a kid for a day, so every little bit counts.”

“As an adult, you forget about that excitement these kids have doing this,” Peterson said. “Each year, I learn something new that they can do. With the Amazing Grace Race, and the random acts of kindness, I seem them push themselves in ways you wouldn’t expect teenagers to be.”

For more information or to offer donations or support, contact the church at (507) 639-4171.