The St. Philip Youth Group is sponsoring its fourteenth annual 30 Hour Famine the weekend of February 25 and 26 for middle and high school students in Norwalk and the neighboring towns.
“The teens will fast for the 30 hours while performing service in the community and participating in prayer and other activities to bring awareness of the stark reality of hunger around the world while, in fact, there is enough food to provide every person in the world with at least 2,720 calories a day,” said Kali Di Marco, the parish’s Youth Ministry Coordinator.
“No one needs to starve.”
The program is increasingly popular among area teens. It was first held in 2004 with 29 participants who raised $4,000 in donations to World Vision, an international relief organization that serves the world’s poorest children, and to Manna House, Norwalk’s soup kitchen.
The number of participants and donations has risen each year, and to date has raised in excess of $360,000. She noted that each $30 will help feed and care for a child for a month.
The fast begins at 9:00am Saturday, February 25. The teens, adult volunteers, parents and members of the community meet at St Jerome Church for “The Walk” to honor the Night Walkers of Uganda. These are 40,000 village children of Northern Uganda who travel on foot from their homes every night to protected shelters in town to be safe from rebels that abduct children for use as soldiers, porters and sexual slaves. The abductors themselves often are children.
“The Walk sets the tone for the 30 Hour Famine, to raise awareness among our own children and help them understand what is going on in the world,” DiMarco said. A full day’s program follows, including a blessing in the church, with school and offsite activities, keynote speaker, games, service projects, music and prayer, and ends at 11 pm with a vigil in the church. Sunday begins with a group meeting, 10 am Mass and a breaking of the fast with Eucharist, and closes with breakfast in the school hall.
“These teens really want to make a difference, and they need the help of adults in the community,” DiMarco said. “We need lots of pledges to support their efforts.”