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Starving for a cause

March 3, 2010

Local church youth group endures 30-hour famine


LUCERNE VALLEY • Nearly three dozen local teens got a glimpse of what it’s like to live without food or adequate shelter this past weekend — and they did it voluntarily.

Lucerne Valley Community Church hosted a 30-hour famine from last Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. Thirty-three high school and middle school students ate no solid food for 30 hours to raise money for an organization called World Vision, which fights hunger and poverty worldwide.

Members of the Community Church youth group asked local citizens and businesses to sponsor them in the same way they’d sponsor someone in a walk-athon. You might call it a starve-athon.

Valerie Bush participated in the national event with an Apple Valley Church throughout all four of her high school years. Bush, 20, is now in her second year organizing the event at Lucerne Valley Community Church. She said the youth group has raised $2,200 for World Vision this year, and she said money is still coming in.

“After the earthquakes in Chile, World Vision was one of the first groups that was on the scene to help,” she said. “They’re very good.”

Bush said the youth group is careful to make sure all participants are healthy and can withstand the fast (they drink water and juice during the event). A group of adults was on hand to constantly monitor the teens and stayed overnight with them in the church. Last year the participants slept outside in cardboard boxes, Bush said, but this year they stayed inside — in cardboard “shantytowns” — due to the rainy weather.

Bush said nearly all of the participants made it to the end without having to quit, and they shared their experiences with the church on Sunday.

She hopes the teens have learned important lessons about global hunger and poverty.

“Definitely all the kids are grateful for the basic things they have: their own bed, running water and food,” Bush said. “It will definitely plant seeds for them to help people around the world in the future.”