Youths to go without food to help raise awareness

........................................................................................................................................................................................

The small cloth bundle isn’t even the size of a baseball. Tied off with a brown ribbon, the tan package is filled with 2.97 ounces of rice and beans — the amount of food many people in the world eat in one day.

Submitted photo: Willing to go hungry so others don’t have to, members of Abundant Life Christian Center’s GROUNDED Youth Group are participating in a 30-hour fast to raise money for World Vision. Participating in the project are, first row, from left, Abagail Hughes, Jianna Schmitz, Stephanie Artiaga, Jasmine Duffney, Francesca Carbajal and Mariah McClanahan; second row, from left, Youth Leader Deborah Schmitz, Joe Davis, Arena Youth, Samantha Carillo, Jedidiah Schmitz and Alexia Flores; third row, from left, Adult Leader Dennis Hughes, Jaron Schmitz, Assistant Youth Leader JuliAnn Apodaca, Emily Martinez, Hannah Marie and Savannah Carrasco. Not pictured are Elias Davila, Ethan Holmes, Jeremiah Schmitz and Adult Leader Daniel Schmitz.

Not because they want to but because that’s all there is available.

“It’s hard to believe that’s all some kids have to eat for their whole family in a day,” said Elias Davila, 12.

Davila is a member of the Abundant Life Christian Center’s GROUNDED Youth Group.

He, along with nearly 20 other youths, will experience what it’s like to go without food for 30 hours this weekend in an effort to fight hunger around the world and hopefully raise funds to help feed others.

The youth group is participating in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine, an annual event that brings attention to the nearly one billion people who go hungry every day.

Deborah Schmitz, one of the youth group leaders, said World Vision sends food to communities in places such as Africa, Afghanistan and Haiti, as well as here in the United States.

“About 85 percent of what they raise goes ‘out the door’ to provide food and resources,” Schmitz said. “They keep overhead as low as possible.”

The youth participants and the adult leaders will eat their last meal, lunch, on Friday, April 19, Schmitz said. They will go to the church that afternoon and evening for games and activities.

“We will sleep over at the church as a group,” she said. “Because we have younger kids, there will be water and juice boxes available, and on Saturday evening, they will break their fast.”

The groups hopes to raise $3,600. To donate directly to the GROUNDED team, visit www.30hourfamine.org and click the “donate” tab in the upper right. Search for the team to find the link to its fundraising page.

The young people participating in the fast all say they decided to do this to help others, often noting that they have the chance to eat well every day without worry, whereas others don’t have that luxury.

Davila has set a personal goal to raise $500. According to World Vision, every $30 raised can help feed and care for a child for a month.

Jedidiah Schmitz, 13, set a goal of $1,000 in the hopes of feeding 36 kids for a year.

“I want to help these kids,” Jedidiah said. “I’m eating every day, sometimes every hour.”

His younger sister, Jianna Schmitz, 9, said she saw pictures of children in other countries and decided to participate in the 30 Hour Famine because “they don’t look healthy.”

JuliAnn Apodaca, assistant youth leader, said she has the good fortune to eat regularly while others don’t.

“I can go 30 hours for them to get the chance,” Apodaca said.

Jaron Schmitz, 16, said World Vision does more that simply hand out food — it equips people to grow their own food by helping them put in wells.

“It’s not just the ‘give a guy a fish’ idea,” Jaron said.

Deborah said ironically most of the families in these regions that are going without regular food are farmers by trade.

“But if there’s no water, they can’t farm,” she said.

Jaron said according to the literature from World Vision, some families have to pick which children get food when it’s available, there’s so little.

“Can you imagine having to do that,” he says, shaking his head.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.