Fact: 870 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. This number has fallen by 130 million since 1990, but progress slowed after 2008’s economic crash. (Source: State of Food Insecurity in the World,FAO, 2012)
Steph Jump and Gianna Scolini ’13 are horrified by this statistic. Charged with an independent community service project requirement, these seniors decided to host a 30 Hour Famine with students on campus to raise awareness about world hunger. Months of preparation–studying hunger, recruiting participants, planning activities and collecting sponsors–led to the culminating event in which twenty-eight participants raised $3,400 to support a school in Zambia, RHO Appleseed. Run by friends of Gianna, this school provides quality education and a meal program for orphans and vulnerable children.
Part of the idea behind the 30 Hour Famine is to educate participants about hunger. Steph and Gianna led plastic-bag soccer (kids make and play them in Africa), true/false games about world hunger, and a take on the game Tribe by World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine organization. “Playing a game is very different than dealing with the real issue, because the games were a lot of fun.” Gianna further reflected, “When we were doing activities, I forgot about the hunger.”
While not everyone fasted through the entire 30 hours, they still felt the impact. “People were surprised about how hard it is…Even though a few people had to eat, they saw how hard it was. The kids over there [view interactive map from World Food Programme below] don’t just get to eat after 30 hours, they don’t have a huge meal waiting for them, they don’t have anything waiting for them. It just put it all in perspective,” Gianna explained. Steph added, “One of the other themes I heard was about gratitude. People saying ‘I’m really grateful now for what I have. I can just go to the refrigerator and get what I want or go to Chipotle.'”
Steph and Gianna hope that other Athenian students will carry on the project, hosting an annual famine to raise awareness on campus. The girls plan on continuing this work themselves in college. “World hunger is a really serious issue and it’s one that’s preventable,” Steph concluded.
RHO Appleseed was so touched by the donation that they sent a personal letter to the Athenian community, as well as mentioned the Famine in their monthly newsletter.
Please let the students of Athenian’s PAC know how very grateful we are for the very generous donation to the students of RHO Appleseed School in Zambia. As I have told Gianna Scolini and her mom, this donation is truly what is keeping the school going right now. Their donation is primarily paying for the meal program, which consists of breakfast and lunch, 5 days a week as well as helping with teacher salaries. We are not sure where the school would be right now without it. –Joy and Ken Hoffman and the staff and students of RHO Appleseed School, Lusaka, Zambia