Planning Beyond 30 Hour Famine: Encouraging Students To See Their Call To Love Locally, As Well As Globally


By Bobby Benavides

For many youth leaders, the 30 Hour Famine is a wonderful way to encourage their students to think beyond their circumstances, and see that there are people around the world struggling to eat or have access to clean water. It’s a great opportunity to teach students to love their neighbors beyond the borders.

It is an eye opening experience for many and it challenges them to move outside of their comfort zone into an unfamiliar situation. It will also allow the leaders to educate the students on global issues. The activities and projects planned will develop a deeper connection, for many, with the plight of children and families globally. It is truly a great opportunity for spiritual growth.

The question that needs to be asked by leaders guiding the event is, “What’s next?”

It is important to think beyond the Famine. It is a great opportunity for students and leaders to grow together and push through hunger, but what happens after the event is over?

Students need to be reminded that, although they spent 30 hours focusing their mind and heart on people lacking food, the need doesn’t disappear after 30 hours is past.

Another idea students should be encouraged to work through is the struggle of peers and families in their direct contact.

The Famine event shines light on global poverty and hunger. It enlightens us to the needs of people around the world who are in unfortunate and painful circumstances. It also shows how World Vision is doing a great work through events like the Famine to eradicate hunger in our lifetime.

After the Famine, we as leaders, need to take time to emphasize the hardships and struggle around us.

How can we encourage our students to care for the hunger and poverty our local neighbors experience daily?

Here are some tangible ways to encourage your students and leaders to think beyond the famine:

  1. SET UP A CANNED FOOD DRIVE: This can actually happen during the Famine. When you encourage students to not only collect money for the famine, but also collect canned food to donate to food pantries and homeless shelters nearby, you keep their hearts and minds focused on global and local issues.
  2. GUEST SPEAKER: During the Famine, or the Sunday following, invite a director of a mission or shelter to come and discuss the issues in and around your neighborhood. If you don’t know one, do some research on local statistics and share the needs.
  3. SERVE AT A SHELTER: Find a shelter to serve in. Do this during a time that isn’t “normal” (i.e. Christmas or Thanksgiving), and find ways to encourage students to write cards or letters of encouragement to leave at the shelter. Ask the shelter for their needs and challenge your group to meet some, if not all, of them.

These three activities could all happen during the Famine event, but it is important to encourage your students to think beyond the 30 Hour Famine activity.

It is too easy to get back into our usual activities and lessons and wait until next year to discuss hunger and poverty. We need to be intentional about pushing our students to acknowledge the needs that occur regularly, all around us, and respond to what we see.

May your students be encouraged, yet challenged. May you lead beyond the Famine, to continue motivating your students to serve for the glory of Jesus daily.