Last week, the Famine team fasted for 30 hours to pray for all of our amazing groups and get ready for this weekend’s big national event! Hilary Hilpert, one of the newer members of our team, had never fasted before, so we asked her a few questions about her experience.
This was your first time fasting. Were you nervous going into it?
I was a bit nervous, but also very excited. I’ve been on the Famine team for nearly a year now, and I felt like a bit of phony that I hadn’t even experienced a major part of our program—fasting for 30 hours! I was excited not only to put myself in the shoes of those who are hungry around the world, but to also experience a large component of our program, firsthand.
As for the nervous part? For anyone who knows me, I like to eat…a lot. At work, I have a desk full of food (granola bars, cookies, pita chips, oatmeal, etc.) that I dig into between most meals. I was a bit worried that I would ‘cheat’ my fast out of sheer habit.
How did fasting change your perspective on how you relate to the world’s poor?
Every time I felt hungry, I would subconsciously tell myself, “Relax, Hilary. Just 12 more hours…just 5 more hours…just 2 more hours,” and so on. I knew that my next meal was coming eventually. It was a harsh realization because most of the (nearly 1 billion) people in the world who go to bed hungry each night, aren’t able to predict when their next meal will come. I can’t begin to imagine what it would feel like to not be able to provide meals for myself and a family. Plus, on top of the constant hunger, exhaustion, heat, and frustration—those living in poverty are working to make a living and take care of their families! In a word, giving up food for 30 hours was very, very humbling.
What was the hardest hour for you?
The hardest hour was waking up in the morning, after not eating the entire previous day. If you’ve ever had an early dinner (or even skipped dinner), you know the overwhelming feeling of hunger when you wake up the next morning—like you can’t get out of bed fast enough to find anything edible to suppress the hunger. That’s what it felt like, only worse. I had a fridge FULL of food that I had to pretend wasn’t there while I got ready for work. When I was busy, I didn’t think too much about it. During the second day though, I had to stay out of the kitchen entirely.
What advice would you give to the thousands of people who will be fasting this weekend?
Every time you feel hungry, just remember that your next meal is coming soon and that alone, is an enormous blessing. For most of us, there is food nearly every which-way we turn—a market down the street; a fruit tree in the yard; a pantry stocked with canned goods; and a warm meal provided every night for dinner. This is something we should never take for granted. Hopefully by giving up food for 30 hours this weekend, Famine participants will look at food a little differently from now on. Eating is a necessity, yet it’s denied to so many and WE can be a part in changing that. Oh, and stay away from the kitchen!