30 Hour Famine

Aaron Schaffer, Photo Editor

This Thursday, Feb. 21, UR students will be refraining from eating for over a day.

Called the “30 Hour Famine,” the event was started in 1971 by a group of teenagers  in Alberta, Canada. By 1992, the first fundraising famines finally made their way to the United States. Today, the 30 Hour Famine has grown exponentially into a worldwide fundraiser spanning 21 countries and coordinated by World Vision, a non-profit that describes itself as “a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.”

The main objective of the 30 Hour Famine is two-fold: to raise money and awareness about world hunger. According to World Vision’s website, a child dies from hunger-related causes every 13 seconds, and around the world at any time, 925 million people experience hunger daily. This year’s event, hosted here at UR, bridges differences in belief among various faiths by helping those in need. The famine is co-sponsored by: the Protestant Chapel Community, Newman Catholic Community, Hillel, Athletes in Action, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, The Hindu Students’ Association, and the Interfaith Chapel.

“Standing up for those who are hungry and those who struggle to meet life’s basic necessities is an important and necessary dimension of people of faith and those who seek the common good,” Newman Catholic Community Father Brian Cool explained.

“Many religious traditions have fasting as an element of religious observance that connects [individuals] deeper to God and others, especially those in need,” he continued. “This event gives the Rochester community a sincere opportunity to understand hunger personally.”

In the spirit of Meliora, UR students will be going above and beyond a simple fast and fundraiser. In addition to recognizing the fast, students will partake in a variety of service events. On Thursday night and Friday afternoon, as a part of the event, participants will also be making blankets that will be given out to members of the Rochester community in need. Last year’s blankets made during the event went to the Church of the Blessed Sacrament for distribution.

When asked about what he thought made the event special, senior Richard Hellinger excitedly responded, “[it’s] a great way to bring people of different faiths and even people who have absolutely no religious affiliation together to do something that benefits people who are less fortunate than themselves.”

This year, the students hope to raise at least $1,500, which will grossly exceed the mere $30 per month needed to nourish a child for an entire year.

Students hope that with this event, they will not only raise money, but also awareness about the issue of hunger in the world today.

“[It] helps to provide perspective,” Protestant Chapel Community President and junior and Dan Gorman said.

“[It’s] not only about food insecurity worldwide, but also about the relative ease of contributing to charity, if only we set aside the time to do so.”

Students, faculty, staff, friends, and family are all welcome and encouraged to donate to this year’s event by visiting the organization’s Facebook page.

In 2010 alone, the fundraiser raised $10.5 million worldwide for children in countries including Swaziland, Malawi, and Haiti. Combining the funds raised during the last 20 years, that total comes to the tune of some $142 million.

Although those involved in this year’s 30 Hour Famine hope for its success, many are aiming for even loftier goals.

“The hope is… that this action changes hearts, lives, and policies so that this event is unnecessary next year,” Father Cool said. “The human family has the ability to do so, and we should.”

Shinseki is a member of the class of 2015.

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