Q & A: Let’s hear from the Youth Pastors!


Approximately 12,000 youth groups participate in the 30 Hour Famine every year to bring life changing support to families around the world. Each month we’ll feature an awesome youth group right here on our blog! You can hear directly from them about their Famine experience, what makes their Famine event unique and possibly get some ideas for your own event!

While at the NYWC in Atlanta this past November, I had the pleasure of meeting John Leece and Sandra Hunter from Norcross First United Methodist Church in Norcross, GA. Sandra is a volunteer at Norcross and John is the youth pastor. In 2011 they took on their first 30HF event. Read on to learn how they spent those 30 hours how the 30HF impacted their students!

30HF: What aspect of your 30HF event stands out to you most? 

John: What was unique about our 30HF was that we went to serve at a place that works with the homeless called Safe House in Atlanta. We wanted something real life that we could do along with the TRIBE game and the other resources World Vision provided. On the Saturday morning of our event we served the homeless a pancake breakfast at Safe House. It was neat because we were hungry and feeding people who are often hungry. It was a good way of building our awareness of what it’s like to be the person who doesn’t have enough.

Sandra:  Serving at Safe House was a mind-changing, life experience, where the students were able to be hands-on and have a visual experience of hunger.

30HF: Being your first 30HF event, was it difficult for you to plan?

John: The leader materials you gave us were pretty self-explanatory and easy to follow. We adapted some to our own group. The game TRIBE worked, we just followed directions. Besides adding in the service project we pretty much followed your program and it went really well.

Sandra: Your whole process, from the information you gave us, to how we send the money in was very easy. When I had questions, World Vision was very easy to work with. We also used the videos and stories that came with the 30HF leader’s guide. We loved ‘Journey to Jamaa,’ it was so good!

30HF: How did the 30 Hour Famine event impace your students?

John:  For me, seeing the change in students from the start to the end, and seeing them ‘get it’ was really rewarding. About an hour in, one student was complaining about how hungry he was, and by the end, he had more compassion. I think we’re all naturally self-centered and the 30 Hour Famine helped us get outside of ourselves a bit. I would say it was more than just a fun thing. Who cares if students have a lock in…I want to know how their life changed.

Sandra: You always want to do events and activities with your youth that are impactful and this definitely was one. It was very powerful. I would definitely do it again. Just the awareness about what’s going on around the world was huge, and for us to experience just a very small part of it was a rewarding experience.

Ellie Hutchison spent the Fall interning for the 30 Hour Famine after joining Team Burundi for the 2011 Study Tour. She just finished her first two weeks in Australia with Youth With a Mission, where she’ll be for six months. The only thing Ellie loves more than fighting poverty and injustice, are her adorable dogs who live in Minnesota.