30 Hour Famine history: It’s always been about transforming lives


Just a couple kids in Canada:
World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine has been fighting the pangs of hunger across the globe since the early 70’s. The first Famine event took place in Alberta, Canada when a group of students refused to sit back and do nothing while 36,000 hunger-related deaths happened daily. In 1971, these students created a local event, encouraging others to fast for 30 hours to raise money and awareness about global hunger. After that initial event, their infectious passion caught the attention of students and leaders around the world who wanted to learn more about global hunger and their potential role in changing it.

The first U.S. Famine:
In 1992, through the success and inspiration of Famine efforts in Canada, students in the U.S. caught the Famine fever. “Make it Happen” was the theme that kick-started the U.S. 30 Hour Famine campaign. It called students across the nation to learn about the reality of hunger, make a tangible sacrifice for the hungry, and raise funds in hope to banish hunger to the history books.

The ‘Famine Effect’:
Thousands of teens across the U.S. recognized the power of this call and moved into action. Within that first year, $240,000 was raised. However, the buck did not stop there. As 30 Hour Famine funds increased each year, the number of hunger-caused deaths was on the decline. The power of these students making their mark in the world was and is, astounding. Today, The 30 Hour Famine is the largest youth initiative in the world. In 2010 alone, more than 600,000 students across the nation helped to raise $10.5 million dollars to help feed and care for children in countries like Swaziland, Malawi, Haiti, and the United States.

Where we’re headed:
The materials and resources developed by World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine team in Seattle, Wash., are distributed with confidence that youth have the power to make a distinct mark in the world. “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” (New Living Translation 1 Timothy 4:12).

Though the 30 Hour Famine themes may change year-to-year, the pillars that compose the collective fight against hunger stay the same. The Famine is about transforming lives through education, experience, and a call to action—just look at our numbers. Within the last 20 years of the U.S. Famine, more than $142 million has been raised to provide nourishment to nearly 500,000 hungry kids worldwide. Stories of transformation both at home and in the countries we serve, fuel the work of The 30 Hour Famine and its participants. We will continue to defend the rights of the poor through education and empower students to tackle the root causes of hunger around the world. All it takes is 30 hours.