Krishan Thadani never went more than 12 hours without eating.
“I feel tired, I feel hungry and completely exhausted. But that’s the whole purpose of it,” said Thadani, a sophomore biology major.
Thadani is one of 10 Temple student volunteers in Crosswalk, the campus Christian organization, who chose to take part in 30 Hour Famine.
“[30 Hour Famine is] meant to put ourselves in these people’s positions to see what they go through. And I think we’ve successfully accomplished that,” Thadani said.
With a little less than 24 hours completed, and another six to go, toughing out the desire to eat gets harder as the hours pass.
30 Hour Famine, which was nationally held April 24, is “an international youth movement to fight hunger and poverty,” according to its Web site. As a part of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian charity organization, the event allows youths to experience what it is like to live in poverty every day.
Through this cause, volunteer members raise money to fight hunger and bring awareness to the problems facing developing countries around the world. At noon on Friday, Crosswalk volunteers began their fast, which lasted until 6 p.m. Saturday.
Students were allowed to consume water except in the event of fatigue, when they were allowed to drink juice.
“I think water is a more pure thing,” Thadani said.
The community service events during the two days for which the students fasted were split up with different volunteers at each event, some who weren’t fasting.
Fasting was the primary way volunteers were able to experience how it felt to physically suffer the effects of hunger. They also chose to further their experience by sleeping outside in tents.
On Saturday morning, five volunteers worked at a soup kitchen at St. Mark’s Church. They served food and socialized with the local patrons. Later that morning, they cleaned and gardened at Page Street, west of Main Campus.
Ross Williamson, a senior education major, experienced only a smidgen of what life is like for people in developing countries. He said he found serving people to be fulfilling because he is not only thinking about himself but about the needs of others.
“Going on 24 hours, I feel pretty out of it. But it’s exciting. I’ve never done this before,” Williamson said. “I just feel such peace when I’m able to do that. I think it’s hard for people in this country to understand how great [of a problem world hunger] is. You will be able to get along better in the world if you care about others.”
As clichéd as it may sound, America is truly a fortunate country, volunteers say. Living in this country is a luxury because of the amount of food available. According to 30hourfamine.org, 840 million people in the world do not get enough to eat every day, while 3.3 billion people live in poverty. Another 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty.
America has its share of people who are living in poverty, but unlike impoverished people in developing countries, they are given resources like soup kitchens, Williamson said.
Daniel Domanski, a junior film and media arts major, chose to volunteer for community service initiatives during the famine.
He said it’s hard to deal with not eating on a regular basis.
People from developing countries work hard with little pay and food. They are forced to provide their own and produce more physical labor than the strength they have to carry on.
“I don’t think we can fully comprehend,” Thadani said. “We’re only doing this for 30 hours. It’s nothing like what they go through.”
“[Third World countries] aren’t awarded the same kinds of opportunities that power countries like America have,” said Jamie Leather, a junior psychology major.
Leather said hunger is a psychological thing in America because [food] is so readily available to us.
Crosswalk has been organizing this event since January and will be receiving donations over the next month. All donations will be used to aid humanitarian efforts in underdeveloped countries like North Korea, Malawi, Peru, Haiti and Swaziland.
Esther Akintoye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.