Teen Fast
Helps Hungry

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Hunger is a difficult feeling to imagine. It has to be experienced. Teens in New Jersey wanted to feel the effects of an empty stomach to get a better understanding of the effects of poverty, so they volunteered for a 24-hour fast. Empty stomachs opened their eyes. Kim Riemland reports. 

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(Locator: Medford, New Jersey)

(Kids make sandwiches) “I’m really hungry right now.”

Eleven-year-old Jordan Robinson is one of about 80 teens and tweens who are fasting to feel the effects of chronic poverty.

Jordan Robinson, 6th Grader, Medford United Methodist Church: “I think it’s a good way to find out how people really feel.”

Brielle Hohne, 8th Grader, Medford United Methodist Church: “That hungry feeling, it’s not comfortable, but it’s there and you just have to deal with it.”

After skipping dinner, the youth make 650 sandwiches to give to the homeless.

Brielle Hohne, 8th Grader, Medford United Methodist Church: “It’s not hard to be around food when you know you’re doing something good.”

Young people from two New Jersey United Methodist churches are participating in “B1” which stands for “one being, being one with the world.” A 24-hour food fast is combined with education, fundraising, and service projects to give young people a sense of connection with the poor.

Samuel Ekwonike, 9th Grader, Epworth United Methodist Church: “We have everything, so it’s kind of like, give to the people that need it the most.”

The next morning … 12 hours into the fast … stomachs are growling.

Brielle Hohne, 8th Grader, Medford United Methodist Church : “When I got up this morning, somebody walked by with a box of Dunkin’ Doughnuts and I was a little jealous, a little hungry.”

The youth visit a Salvation Army site…

(Teen serves drinks) “Would you like water?”

…and low-income housing complexes, to hand out the sandwiches.

Phyllis Blassingame, Homeless: “When I see young people helping out people that don’t have, it’s a blessing.”

Debbe Barnett, Youth Pastor, Epworth United Methodist Church: “It’s just that personal contact, looking into someone else’s face. Once you see something, you seldom forget it.”

Samuel Ekwonike, 9th Grader : “One of the older men, when he was coming to get his lunch, he was like dancing and that was kind of fun, you know.”

Jordan Robinson, 6th Grader: “I learned that everyone can make a difference in the world.”


The youth groups from Medford and Epworth United Methodist Churches raised 4,500 dollars for two United Methodist Advance projects.

For more information, call Rachel Harvey at 212-870-3794 or visit this Web site:

Also, see: Youth fast today to change tomorrow

Posted: April 8, 2009