Thursday night (April 16), many of the students of Belmont secondary will go hungry.
Josh Gage, a Grade 11 student, initiated the project – a 30-Hour Famine event where participants voluntarily fast to raise money for and awareness about world hunger.
“A lot of kids want the opportunity to help out their community and people in need,” he said, and this was one way he figured they could do that.
The 30-Hour Famine was initiated in 1971 when 15 friends in Calgary staged an event in a church basement to raise awareness of children suffering during a famine. The idea spread, and now these events take place in over 20 countries.
Over 80 students have volunteered to be a part of the Belmont famine.
“When I started, I was expecting maybe 15 or 20 students to sign up,” Gage said. “It’s been really exciting to see the student body respond to it and get behind it this way.”
He said that he would see $1,000 being a successful fundraising effort, “but it’s going to far surpass that.” As of Monday morning, he had already collected over $500, and that was collected from only a handful of the students participating.
One third of the money being raised will be donated to World Vision – the organization that received the funds from the original Calgary event in 1971 – one third will go to the CanWES Society to help build schools in Nepal, and one third will be donated to the Out of the Rain Youth Shelter right here in the capital region.
So, what are these kids going to be doing with themselves for 30 hours in a school?
“Well, we’ll have to see how the night goes,” Gage said.
While they do have some structured activities planned, such as a line-up of films being screened in the library and a few educational activities scattered throughout the night, much of the time it will be a self-directed kind of event. Random games of pick-up basketball and floor hockey will happen in the gym, video game stations will be set up in various classrooms that students can take advantage of at their leisure and there will surely be a few other spontaneous activities the students come up with on the fly.
“Hunger is a really big problem in the world,” Gage said, “and not just in developing countries. Most students in our circumstances don’t know what that would be like, so this is a great way to bring some awareness to that and do our part to help with it, in some small way, as well.”
Gage wanted to take a moment to thank some local business sponsors, specifically Thrifty Foods and Glenwood Meats, who have offered to feed the students to break their fast on Friday morning.
Anyone else who would like to help the students with their fundraising efforts, whether sponsoring something for the event itself or by contributing to the funds being raised can contact Gage by email at email@example.com. They will be accepting donations for about a week after the challenge before distributing them to the charities they are supporting.