By Rick Palsgrove
The youth of Groveport United Methodist Church want to make a difference in the world.
On March 3 and 4, the Groveport United Methodist Youth (GUMY) participated in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine. (World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization.) As part of the event, the youths fasted for 30 hours to raise money for and awareness about those who are hungry around the world. They also participated in a 6K (3.75 miles) walk along and around Groveport’s Main Street where each person carried the weight of two gallons of bottled water on the entire walk.
“We want the kids to empathize with those worldwide who do not have enough food and ready access to clean water,” said GUMY Leader Courtney Hilbert. “We want them to see that a little effort can make a big difference.”
Hilbert said the 6K water walk mirrored the average distance a person in a Third World country must walk each day to get clean water. She said the 30 hour fast reflects the average amount of time an impoverished person goes between meals.
According to Hilbert, the goal was to raise $2,000 for World Vision, which GUMY has also been able to raise each of the last four years. The youths collected change for 30 days from themselves and the church congregation as well as money they would have spent on food while fasting. Donations were also accepted.
Hilbert said about $1.25 a day can feed an impoverished child in the Third World and $40 can feed them for a month.
“An event like this is a tremendous experience for the kids,” said Hilbert. “It can be a powerful life changing experience for them. They realize that, after 30 hours of not eating, and though they feel tired and hungry, they still must carry on and function.”
In addition to fasting and doing the water walk, the youths also worked with Comfort Care and Seton Parish to make about a half dozen sleeping bags that will be distributed locally to homeless people.
“It’s about working together to help people and do Christ’s work,” said Hilbert. “Anything we can do to help the kids empathize with the less fortunate is important. It enables them to get outside of themselves.
Zoe Pickett of Groveport, who is a senior at Teays Valley High School, said it is impactful to learn about what hardships people go through.
“This (30 Hour Famine) experience creates a connection to others,” said Pickett.
Logan Engle, a senior at Groveport Madison High School, said, “We learned what it is like to walk in other people’s shoes.”
During the 6K water walk, Engle said he was “tired, but stoked.” Pickett said carrying the weight of two gallons of water such a distance was tiring.
“There are people in the world who have to do this every day,” said Pickett. “I can’t imagine what it is like to have to do this every single day.”
Regarding making the sleeping bags, Pickett said, “I love that it’s doing something directly helpful for the community. The water walk and 30 hour famine connect us to the broader world and making the sleeping bags connects us further to the local community.”
Katie Cordle, a junior at Groveport Madison High School, said participating in the event gives her a chance to help others.
“Making the sleeping bags is very personalized,” said Cordle. “You know someone will receive something they need and it will bring some happiness to someone
who is in a bad situation.”
Hilbert said 20 youths participated in the event this year and it is the 15th time GUMY has been involved with the 30 Hour Famine.
“Through their actions, these kids are demonstrating God’s grace to the world around them,” said Hilbert.
“Feelings Wall” comments
On big sheets of paper attached to the hallway walls of Groveport United Methodist Church, the GUMY members wrote about their thoughts and feelings during their “30 Hour Famine” experience. Here are some of their handwritten comments:
“Thankful that I get to eat food after this.” “Happy.” “Nervous.” “Slap happy from being tired and hungry.” “Sleepy.” “Ready.” “‘Hangry.’” “I feel excited.” “I am nervous about the water walk, but hearing the stories of those who walk miles daily to get water breaks my heart.” “Tired, somehow not hungry.” “Awesome.” “Old and tired.” “I feel like I’m ready for a burger and a nap.”
Go GUMY! Grateful for this church and its long history of youth ministry. It had a life-changing impact on me. Proud that my BFF from that church is the youth leader. God is alive and working at GUMC.
I am SO proud of our youth and Courtney – such fantastic kids and a amazing leader.
They are such a blessing for the entire church.
Courtney and our youth at GUMC are such a gem!