The youth group at my church just finished a fundraiser they were doing for an anti-hunger/poverty organization, World Vision.
The idea was that they all got sponsors to pledge a certain amount of money while they took part in the fundraiser, and then that money goes to the organization. What was the actual activity you may ask? Well a whole group of middle school and high schoolers, as well as their dedicated leaders, all fasted together for 30hours.
[Also, my lovely sister, who also blogs on occasion, posted several pictures of the event on her site, The Adventures]
They all started on their own at 12:30 Friday afternoon, and then met at church that evening to all stay the night and to spend Saturday together. I wasn't there at all on Friday, and I didn't get there until around 1pm Saturday, so I can't fill you in on everything these wonderful people did. But the parts I was there for were thought provoking. The idea was to get the students to really begin to think outside themselves and to gain a nice big window into so many places on our earth that suffer from lack of what we consider basic rights. They watched a lot of hunger/poverty oriented clips that were informative, and discussed them of course =P And, since it is youth ministry, there were games a plenty. But many of the games they played reflected what they were attempting to recognize this weekend. Each team was a part of a "tribe" named for a country known to have high rates of hunger/poverty. And each tribe learned some about the specific hardships of their country, and had to function within those hardships for a few of the games. One example being a student who had "lost a leg" due to [if I remember correctly] "lack of medical service", having to participate in a game as if she had actually lost her leg, hopping the entire way.
For one game, they had to carry water from different places around the campus with difficult vessels with which to carry the water [ladles, dixie cups, etc]. Giving us just a microscopic taste of what it could be like to have to carry your water in from another location.
But the object, as one leader pointed out, was for everyone, leaders included, to think outside of ourselves. The point was to realize that so SO many people die from Malaria, a super preventable disease. That my daily shower uses more water than some people might see for a week or more. That even though 30hours is a huge deal for our culture, and then even more so for youth within this culture, some people are forced to go for much longer without food. I mean, people die from starvation. Their bodies literally feed off themselves until there's just nothing left. And we throw a fit if our food just doesn't come as quickly as we might like.
The idea was for the group to break their fast [after communion] together with a dinner this evening. So, since I was cooking said dinner, I didn't see a lot of the students' reactions, but from what I've heard from a few of them and many of the leaders is that it was a worthwhile and fairly impacting experience. I'm just mostly so proud of them! But I'm telling you seeing a slough of middle and high schoolers to consciously choose to not eat in order to benefit others is a rare thing. They make an impact on me every time I'm with them and I just can't get over how awesome they are!
So, if you want to benefit a great cause and you need something to do with a group for a day or two, I'd definitely recommend this! How cool would it be to be in a group all supporting each other in struggles that will benefit people who need it so much more desperately? Very very very cool =)