Famine relief: Fund-raiser means fasting for 30 hours, spending the night in cardboard boxes

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 26, 2001

From left, Jennie Sherer, Alisha Lawrence, Kimberly Danczyk and Jessica Sherer set up the cardboard box Jessica was going to sleep in Friday night. at Crawford Street United Methodist Church. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[02/26/01] More than 40 junior high and high school students from Vicksburg were expected to be homeless, cold and somewhat hungry Saturday morning, all in the name of charity.

“We’re doing this in the spirit of how it is for some people in the real world,” said Lacey Boswell, 15. “It also gives me time to reflect on God and to help people in third-world countries.”

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Boswell and the other students, members of Crawford Street and Hawkins United Methodist churches, spent the night in cardboard boxes on the lawn at Crawford Street. They moved in at 7 Friday night and were to call the spot home until late Saturday evening.

Their cold, cramped and sparse accommodations are intended to bring attention, theirs and that of passers-by, to the plight of the World Vision 30-Hour Famine.

“We’re raising money to help provide food and medical care for children in Third World countries,” said Lee Ann Whitley, a member of Crawford Street United Methodist Church and teacher at Warren Central High School.

In addition to spending the night in the boxes, the students are fasting from any food or drink, except fruit juices and chewing gum, for 30 hours.

“It opens their eyes to what people who don’t have as much money or education as they do go through,” Whitley said.

Kimberly Danczyk, 15, a freshman at Warren Central, has participated at all three famine reliefs hosted by Crawford and Hawkins Methodist Churches and said the experience is worthwhile.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s a great experience because you help a lot of people.”

Danczyk said the fasting was most difficult during the last five to ten hours and when they are out doing volunteer work, but they watched a video of the people they were helping during the last hour which made them realize how lucky they were.

“Those people don’t have food or homes, things we take for granted,” she said. She also said it was a fulfilling experience for her to know she was helping someone else and the church congregation has been very supportive of their efforts.

“It’s God’s work, not ours,” Danczyk said. “But we’re also helping ourselves spiritually.”

Saturday morning, the students were expected to fan out across Oak Park subdivision, one of the largest in Warren County, to knock on doors and ask for canned goods. That food will be handed over to Good Shepherd Community Center, which in turn will distribute it to Vicksburg’s poor.

While at the center, the students were to perform volunteer work that will include conducting Bible study sessions.

“It’s really a commitment for these kids,” Whitley said. “They all feel very strongly about it.”

All cash donated will go to the World Vision 30 Hour Famine relief fund, and both churches were continuing to accept donations.

This is the third year for the students at Crawford Street to take part in the international relief fund activities, and it has proven successful in earlier years, Whitley said.

“The church family and the community expect service out of these kids,” she said. “They are very oriented toward public service.”