Nearly 150 teens slept outside in cardboard boxes and fasted for 30 hours this weekend to get a small taste of the extreme poverty and hunger millions experience daily.
Kenneth Turner, 17, described the event hosted by the LowCountry Community Church as an "eye opener"
"At first it's easy to do it," he said of the fast. "But then you get into it, and you're learning about kids who don't have any food.
"It really puts it into perspective how much we actually have," said the Bluffton teen.
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Christian ministry World Vision created the 30-hour Famine event to raise awareness and money for the group's worldwide anti-hunger programs, according to its website.
Rob Jacobs, LowCountry's high school and college pastor, said the event is unmatched in its ability to get young people thinking about poverty and its affects.
"I love this event because (it) gets teens' focus off themselves," he said of the event, now in its 12th year at LowCountry. Hundreds of churches around the country were holding similar events, he said.
All told, 148 kids participated in the fast, which kicked off Friday morning at breakfast and ran through 1 p.m. Saturday. Many slept outside on the church lawn in cardboard boxes Friday night. Cell phones were not allowed.
"That's what kills them more than anything else," joked Aaron Friesen, the church middle school pastor.
He said organizers showed a movie featuring children from Malawi and held a series of discussions. They also let the teens play games and socialize. He said he didn't get to sleep until 4 a.m.
Tina Hanna, 15, of Bluffton, said the fast was not easy, and that hunger came in waves. She said it became hardest Saturday when the group was walking door-to-door in 85-degree heat collecting donations.
"It gives you that chance to see what it's like to be hungry," she said.
Jacobs estimated the teens raised at least $6,000 and collected more than 100 cans of food.
Unlike the homeless and hungry, there was a payoff for the day of fasting and good deeds: An all-you-can-eat lunch at Golden Corral. Judging by the large portions of roast beef, mac and cheese, cotton candy and other treats that were devoured, no one went home hungry.
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/BlufftonBlogIP.
Mission, possible, 7/19/2003