Somewhere you may have read statistics like these:
Worldwide, 795 million people (about one in nine) are chronically hungry and caught in a cycle of poverty. Approximately 8,000 children die each day due to hunger or hunger related diseases (Source: 30 Hour Famine FAQs).
For the last two years Josh (8th grade) has participated with his youth group in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine (a weekend in which he goes 30 hours without food in order to raise money and awareness of those who go hungry).
As Josh and I spent time in Ecuador this past August with a food distribution program, these no longer were statistics but real faces of precious children and families that we had the privilege of serving and getting to know.
These were children who liked to play soccer like mine, moms who loved their children like me, and dads who worked hard to provide for their families. Unlike our family, however, many times they did not know when they would eat again. Seeing these things first hand makes it a reality...whether in the United States or abroad.
Thus, this year, I've decided to join him and his youth group as a leader.
Every $40 we raise will help feed and care for a child for a month. World Vision brings emergency food aid to disaster zones and equips families with the tools they need to overcome hunger in their communities through agricultural education for adults, clean water, basic medical care, and schooling.
This year, the youth will also have a special focus on learning about the 22.5 million refugees who are forcibly displaced worldwide. Over the weekend, they will participate in service projects (i.e. working in a children's refugee program in Pittsburgh, sorting clothes at the World Vision warehouse, helping the local food pantry, etc.). They will watch movies, hear first hand accounts, and experience simulation activities about the refugee experience.
Is going just 30 hours without food and getting to sleep in your own bed the next night the same as an actual refugee? No...not at all...but my prayer is that God would work to soften all of our hearts to realize and appreciate both the privilege and responsibility that comes with these blessings that we often take for granted (Luke 12:48: "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.").
This year, if you are aren't able to give, I ask that you would be in prayer for the event next weekend (dates are February 24th to 25th). There are about 30 youth participating, and I have a tendency to pass out from low blood sugar (I know...it's not really a good combination!).
You can give online (or write a check to World Vision and give it to Josh or I in person). Gifts are tax deductible.