unspecified2The last weekend in February, youth from area churches are joining the efforts of hundreds of thousands of young people across the country to participate in World Visions’ 30 Hour Famine.

“This is the 25th year of the 30 Hour Famine, which emphasizes how youth can make a difference for people who are hungry in our local community as well as all over the world,” said Rev. Margaret Freeman, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church in Franklin. “By going without food for 30 hours, these young people get to experience what the world’s poorest children and families face every day, while at the same time learning some of the root causes and effects of hunger as well as how they can make an impact.”

Local participants will fast for 30 hours, collect canned goods for CareNet and donations for World Vision, and take part in activities to learn more about both the issues of hunger and ways to help. Prior to the event weekend, students raise funds knowing that every $30 they raise can help feed and care for a child for a month.

During the Famine, youth will also participate in service projects with a focus on hunger and poverty issues. Last year, youth filled 800 backpacks full of food for CareNet’s backpack program, which provides food for school children over weekends. They also unpacked and sorted three pallets of food, painted the lobby walls at CareNet, and prepped five garden plots.

“One aspect I like most about the Famine is that it brings the youth and the community together to do a good thing to help people in need,” explained Rodney Vanhook, one of the many leaders involved in the 30 Hour Famine.

Macon Middle School 8th grader Jaiden Vanhook describes the Famine experience as “an opportunity to come together, do lots of fun activities that bring an awareness to hunger while serving God through helping others.”

Turner Swafford, a three-time Famine participant and FHS sophomore, said, “one of the things that is important about taking part in the Famine is that it makes you aware of all the kids who are hungry every day.”

On Saturday, Feb. 27, Famine participants will be stationed in the Franklin area to collect non-perishable food and monetary donations from the community.

“We will set up ‘Boxvilles’ as visual reminders of the great needs in our community and beyond,” said Freeman.

These locations include the lot at the corner of Palmer and Main streets (owned by Entegra Bank and previous site of the Franklin Motel), Ingles at Westgate Shopping Center, BiLo Plaza, Town Gazebo and the Walmart shopping center.

Elementary school children will also be collecting donations on Friday, Feb. 26, at 3:30 p.m. at the Palmer and Main Boxville location in downtown Franklin. “This is an expansion beyond our successful Saturday
collections, and we are working to instill in the younger children an awareness of hunger issues as well as community service,” said Freeman.

unspecified4Donations may also be dropped off before Feb. 27, at First United Methodist Church, Mountain View Intermediate School, Fox Mercantile, or Smoky Mountain Chevrolet. Mountain View Intermediate School’s goal is to collect 1,000 cans; Fox Mercantile is offering a discount to anyone bringing in more than two cans; and Smoky Mountain Chevrolet is donating $1 for each can collected at their location. Some of the participating United Methodist churches include Clarks Chapel, Union, Asbury, Dryman’s Chapel, and Mulberry United Methodist Churches, in addition to the All Saints Episcopal community.

About 30 Hour Famine

Last year, 75 Franklin area youth along with more than 100 volunteers collected 2,400 cans of food and more than $5,700 for CareNet through the Famine efforts.  Additionally, nearly $2,700 was collected for World Vision, including $730 from Smoky Mountain Chevrolet through their pledge to match $1 per can. These funds go to help feed hungry children around the world. Since 2006, participating youth have collected almost 70,000 cans of food for CareNet and more than $69,000 for CareNet and World Vision through 30 Hour Famine projects. Famine funds contribute to World Vision’s response in areas where famine, conflict, and other crises make children vulnerable to hunger and preventable disease. Since 1992, the 30 Hour Famine has raised more than $140 million, representing countless lives saved. World Vision works in nearly 100 countries, helping approximately 100 million people every year.

For more information, contact Rev. Margaret Freeman at Franklin First United Methodist Church at (828)524-3010. Visit www.30hourfamine.org or call 800-7-FAMINE for more information about the 30 Hour Famine.unspecified3