Home Mullica Hill News Local youth ministry raises $16,000 plus for world hunger

Local youth ministry raises $16,000 plus for world hunger

Trinity Youth Ministries members partake in 30-hour famine

Students waiting for activities to start for the 30-Hour Famine event (12 hours into their fast). During the famine, children were able to stay hydrated with water and gatorade. (L to R): Cara Heino, Hannah Kaestner, Madison Turk, Dan Tapken, Katie Baker, Nichole Magnus

“Kids are capable of a lot,” said Mike Ralph, the youth director at Trinity United Methodist Church (UMC) in Mullica HIll.

In late April, 33 local children and several adults fasted for 30 hours to raise money for those who suffer from hunger every day around the world.

Ralph, along with other members of Trinity, led local youth in raising $16,000 to donate to World Visions, a global Christian humanitarian nonprofit that aids the less fortunate throughout the world.

The young Trinity members each raised at least $150 from family and community members, missed three square meals within 30 hours and engaged in educational activities at Trinity UMC in Mullica Hill.

According to World Visions, $425 helps feed one child per year in under-developed countries; $15,000 can feed 30.

The fasting started at 7 a.m. on a Friday morning before school. The kids, Clearview Regional and Kingsway high school students, went to school, some in shirts advertising the fast, sat through lunch without eating and gathered at the church around 7 p.m. Upon entering the church, students entered into a second fasting — they willinging handed over their cell phones.

“That helps build community amongst each other,” Ralph said.

From then on, the students and adult members watched videos provided by World Vision about areas of the world that suffer from hunger every day.

“It helps them make a connection to see why they are doing what they are doing: to see what kids are feeling every day. It makes it come home for them,” he said.

During the second morning of the fast, the group bused over to the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Camden to assist with a trash pickup around the community. At 1 p.m. the fast was broken during a church service with Communion. The members and their families enjoyed a potluck after.

Ralph, who introduced World Vision’s 30-Hour Famine to Trinity seven years ago, is proud to say Trinity has raised more than $80,000 from this event alone.

“People in our church are very giving,” he said.

The initiative is something Ralph says offers the local youth a perspective they may not otherwise encounter in their teenage years.

“These kids have a roof over their heads and food on the table … this is an opportunity for them to see the need that exists,” he said, adding, “It gives them the opportunity to establish at their age the knowledge that as they become adults, they can give to other people.”

While Trinity embraced the idea of serving the global community during the 30-hour famine, it also took the initiative to serve locally by collecting more than 300 canned good to donate to a local food shelter.

This action mirrors the many service projects the group carries out throughout the year, including community cleanups, spending time at local assisted living homes and tutoring in underprivileged areas.

“People tend to think teenages are self-centered and self-seeking. They are capable of much more if we give them opportunity,” Ralph said.

While Trinity Youth Ministries is a Christian organization, Ralph stated hunger is a universal need and is pleased to see the young members promote the message of giving, awareness and action.

World Visions offers groups that partake in the famine to choose where the money goes or instructs the organization to use the money where it needed the most. Trinity chose the latter.

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