MANY PEOPLE are quick to respond when they hear about children going to bed hungry every night. But while it's easy to write a check or donate canned goods, taking the solidarity approach is a road less traveled.
The youth at Faith Baptist Church will raise money and gain a personal understanding of hunger during "30-Hour Famine" on Friday and Saturday. The famine is part of an annual nationwide effort by World Vision, a 50-year-old nonprofit Christian relief and development organization.
Last year, youths across the nation raised more than $8 million to help the needy. This year's goal of $9 million will aid families and children in places like Tanzania, Peru, North Korea, Rwanda -- and the United States. Last year, the youth of Faith Baptist raised $5,000 toward the nationwide campaign.
"We keep doing it each year, because it's such a good cause," said Faith Baptist's youth minister, Clyde Way.
The teens are collecting pledges for the 30 hours they will go without food. While they are skipping three meals, they will spend their time in educational and service-related activities. Bible studies, skits and games, all using the theme of famine, will be held.
"They will have three or four hours of recreation on Saturday -- on an empty stomach," Way said. "That gives them the idea of what it's like to be hungry and still go through daily activities."
Their service project will be cleaning the church and preparing for a dedication ceremony scheduled Sunday.
Juice breaks are scheduled throughout the day, and the fast culminates with a banquet Saturday evening.
In addition to participating in the 30-hour famine each year, the youth group at Faith Baptist has sponsored a child through World Vision for four years.
If you would like to make a pledge, call the church office at 410-761-5346.
Scouting for Food event
Members of Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack 474 will help alleviate hunger at the local level during Scouting for Food. On Saturday, as part of an effort by Scouts across Central Maryland, they will distribute food bags in Harundale (both sides of Ritchie Highway), Glen Gardens and Glenwood-Glenchester.
Residents may contribute to the food drive by placing nonperishable items in the bags. The Scouts will return March 4 to collect filled bags, which should be placed outside front doors.
The annual Boy Scout service project helps fill the shelves at community food banks. The Glen Burnie Scouts will donate all contributions to the Harundale Presbyterian Church pantry.
Last year, the boys collected 1 ton of food for the local pantry.
For details, call Bill Lettau at 410-768-2097.
Give blood, too
Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church at 7436 Baltimore- Annapolis Blvd. hopes to boost low blood reserves with a blood drive from 7: 30 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m. Sunday in the church hall.
The Red Cross tries to maintain a three-day supply of common blood types. Currently, a one-day supply is on hand. Red Cross spokesman Patrick Smith said supplies have been low since the beginning of the year.
"At the worst point, we had only a one-quarter-day supply," he said.
"The flu epidemic took a big hit on the blood supply -- not because flu patients need blood, but because they were unable to donate blood. And the weather also took a big hit. Only now are we beginning to recover."
While all blood types are needed, types O and B are needed the most.
"That one donation goes a long way. When you give blood, your platelets, plasma and red blood cells all go to different people," Smith said.
To schedule an appointment at Holy Trinity, call 410-766-5070.