Friday night and a large portion of Saturday, I had the opportunity to be a part of something special. The youth from our church combined with the youth from another church in town for a lock-in – with a purpose.
It started for the kids right after their lunch at school on Friday. That’s when they began their 30-hour journey to get a small taste (or lack thereof) of what it’s like to truly be hungry. They would not eat again until dinner on Saturday. They gathered at the church, where they joined in worship, and got to know the kids from the other congregation.
After worship, they were divided into “tribes” and each given a card with a photo and information about a hungry child from their newly “adopted” South American country of either Brazil, Colombia, Peru, or Ecuador. Then the tribes completed a series of challenges, which ranged from answering questions about a child they heard about to wheelbarrow relay races that tested their strength, endurance, and teamwork. Also in the evening were several juice/water breaks to help them stay hydrated, some Bible study time, and some time to just hang out and have fun… All before lights out just before midnight.
Saturday morning came way too early for many of the girls, but this mama was glad to get off the couch and get my stiff legs and back moving! Hey, at least it was a nice couch, and I wasn’t on the floor with the girls and other female sponsors! Lots of love and hugs to all of them for understanding my need for cushions. 🙂
“Breakfast” Saturday for the kids consisted of juice boxes and Sunny D, which was then followed by a rousing game of “crab soccer”, and a (no doubt for the youth) amusing crabwalk race among the sponsors. Yup, Mommy and Grayson raced right along with everyone else, and set an excellent example of how to gracefully come in…
Last place. (I still say they should have given me a 30 second lead… I probly still would have lost! Ha!) It was a blast! We then watched a very interesting documentary about hunger right here in the US, and heard from a young man who now lives in San Antonio who grew up in Boutan and Nepal, and was rescued from a refugee camp in Nepal and brought to the US for assylum. This man, HE knows what it is to be hungry.
Even as their heads began to ache, my tummy (and little one) began to complain. You see, I ate dinner Friday night before going to the church, and ate a tiny breakfast Saturday morning, but I did my own fast- and with the kids, did not eat lunch.
So, we took our now grumbling, achy bodies, and loaded up in the church van and my car and headed to the San Antonio food bank, where we spent three hours of volunteer service. Part of our group worked in the garden pulling weeds, raking, etc. and the other part worked sorting food. I was a food sorter. Pallets of donated food would appear behind us, we’d take a box, and sort thru it- checking the expiration dates and throwing out items that were busted open or too far past their life expectancy. A few of the girls from our group worked right with me- I’d sort the box, and then they would haul the items to the appropriate pallets on the other side- to be boxed with like items. Despite the fact that at this point they had gone over 24 hours without food, they worked tirelessly. They’d help me lift boxes to the table to sort that were too heavy, help me sort, then haul it all away- and even throw away the nasty trash that appeared a few times. They were really hard workers, and I’m very proud of all we accomplished together! We were a small part of a very large group of volunteers that over the course of those three hours processed 35,578 pounds of food (27,975 meals)!!!
I went home from there, but the kids went back to church and competed in more tribal competitions, and ended their time with dinner and more fellowship together.
I’m so proud of these kids for taking the step to broaden their horizons- and for also raising money to help those who are hungry. What a wonderful weekend it was!