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Church members find ‘fast’ way to get food

Nineteen-year-old Jessica King, who spearheaded River Road Church of Christ’s “30 Hour Famine” food drive, said she was really proud of the participants.

Nineteen-year-old Jessica King, who spearheaded River Road Church of Christ’s “30 Hour Famine” food drive, said she was really proud of the participants.

ALBANY — On Friday, some 22 hours into a planned 30-hour group fast, a few of the participants admitted that a sandwich would be a wonderful thing to have.

As a distraction from the thought, the young men of the River Road Church of Christ’s youth ministry drew together on the church lawn, listening to Youth Minister John Watson talk about “synergy,” or the convergence of two or more energy sources joining as one. At Watson’s call, two members stood back to back, then eased themselves down to the lawn and up again.

“When the two of us work together, we can get more done than trying it alone,” said team member Isaiah Smart.

The big event they were so anxious to complete was their “30 Hour Famine” food drive, an initiative to draw attention to the plight of the area’s hungry and to collect canned goods and non-perishables for Second Harvest of South Georgia’s Albany branch. Inspiration and training for the fast was provided by World Vision Inc. and its national “Overcome Hunger” campaign to help defeat hunger by fasting for 30 hours.

Group members said they had not known real hunger before the fast, the gnawing, unavoidable, painful kind of hunger that’s so common in the world. The only “old pro” in the group was youth member Anthony Mackey, who’d participated in similar events twice before.

“It’s about having a strategy,” Mackey said. “The first time I did it, I thought I was going to kill myself. The second year was easier because I knew what to expect. The third time, it goes back to synergy. I don’t think I’ve actually thought about food, with all the activities going on. It’s just fun.”

Acting on World Vision’s experience, activities at the church recreation center during the two-day event include a city tour to illustrate to participants what they’re giving up their time for, a devotional at the downtown amphitheater, journal writing, card games and a seminar on facial care for girls.

According to Jessica King, the youth member who’s idea it was to fast, Friday food collection at the church was going “way better than I thought it would.”

“I’m really proud of (the youth team),” King said. “They’ve made a tremendous commitment, and they’ve chosen to step beyond the normal. This is Christmas break for students, and most children our age are at home waiting for Christmas. (These kids) took it into their hands and on their initiative to do something.”

According to King, River Road Church of Christ at 2023 Martin Luther King Drive will accept food donations through Wednesday. For information about the drive, call King at (229) 669-3278 or Lauren Phillips at (229) 255-9811.