5 Things to Know for Your 30 Hour Famine Event


by Katie Swift, 30 Hour Famine Director

My favorite time of the year is finally here – it’s National Famine weekend! This weekend, tens of thousands of students across the United States will be going hungry to help hungry kids. That’s amazing! Whether you feel super prepared or you feel like the weekend snuck up on you and you just want more time, it’s going to be great.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind as you head into this weekend.

  1. You have a whole kit of resources to keep you busy! Dig out that kit from underneath the piles of things on your desk. In it, you’ll find guides full of games, activities, discussion questions, community service ideas, and more. Use it all or pick and choose what works best for your group. Can’t find it? Don’t worry – you can download the digital version online – just sign in and click on resources.
  1. Share real stories of children in need. On the flash drive in your kit, or on our YouTube channel (here for new groups, here for returning groups), you’ll find all kinds of videos that share stories of real children living in poverty. Play them to help your students understand that for them, this hungry feeling will only last for 30 hours, but for millions of children around this world, hunger is a daily reality.
  1. Fundraising is how you change the lives of starving children on the other side of the globe. Prayer is great – please pray! Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is great – please fast to know what it’s like to feel hunger! But it’s the money that makes a real, lasting difference for a child who doesn’t have enough to eat. You might be thinking that I have to say that because it’s my job, but it’s so true. The money you raise is WAY more than a budget line item.

When you fundraise for the 30 Hour Famine, World Vision combines what you raise with all of the other groups, totaling millions of dollars, and spends those funds in the most effective way possible to help hungry children. That means that families are taught how to grow agriculture more efficiently, how to feed their children more nutritious meals, they are given livestock like goats and chickens, and in dire situations, they are given actual food aid that has immediate impact. And to make it better – the money you raise is multiplied 4x by grants! All of that means that children who are hungry today, as you read this blog post, might not be hungry in the coming months and years because of your group. They will be able to focus in school, grow tall and strong, and develop in ways that will benefit their families and communities for generations.

If you haven’t started fundraising yet, it’s not too late. Take some time at the beginning of your event to help your students set up online fundraising pages and email them out to their friends and family. You can even take a few minutes to have them call people! Or make a plan to get donations at church on Sunday after your event is over (take up an offering, make cookies for a bake sale, share your stories during the service).

  1. Help your students process what’s going on. For some students, this might be the first time they even realize there are hungry children out there. That’s a pretty big realization. Be sure to provide time for them to process that with small group (or large group) discussions. Take the time to connect with your students one-on-one between activities to just quickly ask how it’s going for them, what God is teaching them, and how this changes their perspective.
  1. Remember that God will use this experience. It gives me goosebumps to think about the impact that just this weekend can have. This experience has the ability to leave a lasting impact on your students. I recently heard a story about a student who is now in college studying to be an environmental engineer with a focus on water structures because of how the 30 Hour Famine impacted her. I, myself, did the 30 Hour Famine as a middle schooler and I have no doubt that it was one of the things that led me to be interested in development aid and now working at World Vision. If you’ve been doing the 30 Hour Famine for a few years, you probably have students that you’re thinking of right now whose trajectories have changed because of their experience. Multiply that by tens of thousands of students, and I’m in awe of how these young people are changing and will continue to change our world for the better. God will work in your students this weekend, whether the programming is perfect or not, I am sure of it.

Please let us know how it goes! You can email us at 30hfsupport@worldvision.org or post pictures and stories in the 30 Hour Famine Facebook group. And if you have any last-minute questions in the next couple of days, don’t hesitate to email or call 1.800.7.FAMINE (1.800.732.6463). We’re praying for you!