St. Paul's Fights Children's Hunger with 30 Hour Famine

News photos by Harrison Long Pastor Steven Simpson plays on stage at St. PaulŪs UCC with his praise band. This year was the first time the church hosted a benefit concert for the famine.
News photos by Harrison Long Priscilla Kneer and Marlene Dadey of St. PaulŪs UCC hold Christmas lights as a symbol of all the lives that will be touched by the donation money from the 30 hour famine.

Have you ever wondered what itís like go hungry?

St. Paulís United Church of Christ, Amityville, took the challenge once again and kicked off their fifth annual 30 hour famine in order to raise awareness of childrenís hunger. The youths of several church congregations in the area participated in this event which was launched Friday night, March 14, at St. Paulís church, just off of Old Swede Road. The children involved in the famine began their fast after breakfast Friday morning and were able to end it noon Saturday afternoon. They also elected to participate in various activities Friday night and Saturday morning.

Marlene Dadey, director of the famineís events, says that in the previous years the church held this experience it focused on the number of children who die annually from starvation. This year, however, they wanted to highlight the number of children who could be saved by the event. Dadey says it costs approximately $35 a month to feed a child, and according to this statistic, St. Paulís will have assisted 128 children as they were able to raise $4,474 from all the charitable donations the famine was able to accrue.

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All the money that the church is able to collect goes to World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization. They work for the hungry children of the world and in addition to collecting donations for these children, they also teach them how to grow and harvest their own food.

Each year, the famine is supported by a theme, and this yearís theme was connectivity. Delving deeper into this theme is the ďrelease the feastĒ parable which can be found in Luke 14:21, ďAnd you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.Ē This verse, among others, was part of the devotionals the participants of the famine Friday night and Saturday morning. In addition to St. Paulís UCC, Reading City Church, St. Paulís Lutheran Church, and Shenkel UCC all participated in the famine to help raise money for the hungry. At 8 p.m. Friday night, a benefit concert was held for the first time at St. Paulís for the children, their families, and congregation members in honor of the famine. Performers included Pastor Steven Simpson, Pastor Greg Fry of St. Paulís Lutheran, Cat Elwell and Saucokeny Grass, St. Paulís Lutheran Praise Band, and Jeremy Sayer from Reading City Church. Reading City Church had 25 of its congregation members participating in the famine, and the rest of those involved belonged to either St. Paulís UCC or St. Paulís Lutheran. This grouping of churches participates in the famine every year.

After the concert, the church closed out the night with a devotional and opened the next day with one after all the participants, who slept at the church, woke up. Saturday morning, the children packed lunches for homeless veterans at the Rednerís in Douglassville. They then sorted clothes for children at the Church of the Nazarene which were to be given to charity. Once these service projects were completed the participants who fasted for the 30 hours ate a lunch of homemade soup and bread to break the fast. The 30 hour famine is a very generous act St. Paulís UCC has been doing for the last five years, and it is a tradition they hope to continue well into the future thanks in part to the many participants they sponsor.