More than 160 local high school and middle school students from Norwalk and neighboring communities went without food Saturday to raise awareness of the magnitude of the problem of hunger in today's world. They also raised funds to help address the problem of hunger locally, in Norwalk, and in some of the world's poorest countries, including Haiti. This year's theme is "Love Hungry," and that is exactly what they did.
To draw attention to their cause, participants gathered at the Norwalk Green on Saturday morning and made a mile-long "hunger walk" through downtown Norwalk, ending on the grounds of St. Philip Church on France Street.
During their 30-hour fast, participants also worked on a variety of community service projects, sponsored a canned food drive and created a "Canned Food Piece of Art" using more than 1,300 cans of food, which were later donated to local food pantries.
"More than 26,000 children die from hunger every day," said Norwalk High School sophomore Emily Rybnick, one of the youth leaders of this year's famine, in a release prior to the event. "That number is staggering. The good news is that our efforts can make a difference. Just $30 will feed a child for an entire month. That's why we're asking concerned citizens to support us by donating one dollar for each hour that we fast."
"Over the past seven years, our local `30-Hour Famine' effort has raised more than $117,000," said Kali DiMarco, coordinator of Youth Ministry at St. Philip Church, in a release prior to the event. "Our group has become one of the fund-raising leaders for 30-Hour Famine worldwide. But, more importantly, the money we've raised, right here in Norwalk, has helped to save the lives of more than 275 children."
"These teens really want to make a difference, but they need the help of the adults in the community," DiMarco said. "We need lots of pledges to support their efforts."
The Norwalk Famine began in 2004 when 29 teens from the St. Philip Youth Group fasted and raised $4,000. Last year, the event included 188 teens from four local church groups who raised more than $26,000. "30-Hour Famine" is an international initiative involving young people who want to make an impact on the problem of world hunger. Participants pledge to go without food for 30 hours and solicit supporters who donate funds for each hour of the fast. The teens raise money to help alleviate hunger and gain an understanding of how it feels to go without food. To make a donation, send a check payable to either "World Vision" or "Manna House" addressed to "Famine" at St. Philip Church, Fr. Conlon Place, Norwalk CT 06851.