By Juliann Guiffre, Features Co-Editor
Betsy Gravenor only made it about two hours before she started to feel hungry. Worried, she knew she’d have to make it for 28 more. At 5:00 p.m., her stomach started growling for dinner. By the middle of the night, she felt a dull ache in her stomach, and she was tempted to eat something just to make it go away.
Yet somehow she was comforted by the fact that she knew when her next meal was coming, and there are so many others who can’t say the same.
To support the 29,000 children under the age of five who die each day from hunger, on Friday, March 28 at noon members of the Christian Fellowship and other students began what would be 30 hours of fasting, called the 30 Hour Famine.
“Even the hunger pains I [experienced] are only mild when I put them into perspective; I’m sure they are nothing compared to what other people around the world experience every day,” said Gravenor.
All donations will go to World Vision, a Christian Humanitarian Organization that provides food and other aid to countries all around the world.
According to Debbie Diederich, the 30-Hour Famine national director from World Vision, more than half a million students in the U.S. chose to “be hungry” to raise money for children around the world. She says that every $30 raised can help feed and care for a child for one month.
Junior Lauren Howe, a social work major, coordinated Hunger Day as an event for her Christian Fellowship affinity group. It has been held annually for many years, but this year Howe decided to open it up to the entire campus.
“We are so blessed,” she said, “to live where we live, and have an education; it’s easy to forget there are starving kids out there.” Howe thinks many causes supported by World Vision are important in helping to raise awareness.
She can’t participate in the fast because of medical reasons, but Howe helped plan it and participated in the games and activities.
“I definitely don’t eat in front of the others though, that would be mean,” Howe said.
Senior Amanda Eubank, a biology and art history major, first became involved with the 30 Hour Famine in high school with her local church.
“The first time you do it it’s hard because you’re used to eating. We have to play games and find ways to distract ourselves,” she said. One such game is called Tribe: Indonesia, where they participate in activities to help them experience some of the obstacles many must overcome just to survive.
“We’ll have to walk around with a limp or walk with a heavy backpack on,” Eubank said, “ It helps us identify with what children are going through in third world countries.”
Other activities include a Friday movie night and a Saturday night Bible study, as well as a sponsored pizza dinner for breaking the fast, usually donated by a local pizza place.
Each year, members of the Fellowship create a visual representation of their cause. Last year they constructed a 29,000 link chain around red square- one link to represent one person who dies each year from hunger.
“29,000 links…that took a long time,” said Howe, “but afterwards we sat outside Glar and sold the links for 25 cents each to raise money for World Vision.”
Eubanks said that the important thing to do is drink juice to keep the hunger pains from getting too strong….and don’t “gorge yourself on pizza when you break the fast, after the first time you know that eating too much will make you very sick.”
She also said that one girl, who wanted to be “hardcore” with the Famine, only drank water instead of the allowed juice and ended up throwing up because of it.
Eubanks hopes this event and its message reaches other people on campus.
“These are big issues that everyone can relate to,” she said, “Starving children, AIDS, this is a common interest in helping people that need it.”
“Maybe people will think twice before complaining about Glar all the time,” Eubank added.