Spring Lake Park High School’s National Honor Society has raised $1,500 for Feed My Starving Children.
Student members took pledges, collected funds during parent-teacher conferences and passed around a bucket asking for spare change from students in the school cafeteria during lunch periods.
In a service project dubbed 24-Hour Famine, about 35 NHS students gave up food for an entire day starting at 8 p.m. Jan. 30. The next day, they volunteered at Feed My Starving Children in Coon Rapids, where they packed food that was shipped to hungry children in Haiti.
“The best part was raising the awareness around the kids,” said NHS president Emily Lukens. “Everyone who participated felt what starving children all around the world go through every day.”
In asking for pocket change in the lunch room Jan. 31, NHS members explained they were forgoing food for 24 hours to raise awareness for hungry children. Many students dug into their pockets and pitched coins into a collection bucket. Faculty members donated as well.
NHS members also sought pledges of at least $30 a piece to partake in the fast, which was optional to members. Students were allowed to drink water and lemonade during the 24-hour period.
More than halfway through the fast, students on the afternoon of Jan. 31 headed for Feed My Starving Children.
“It helped them understand where their money was going and how it was used,” said Kyle Lemberg, NHS adviser.
Feed My Starving Children is a Christian initiative that partners with organizations to provide meals to the hungry, worldwide, including countries stricken by natural disaster or enduring economic despair. The meals are distributed in nearly 70 countries through missionary partnerships with orphanages, schools, clinics, refugee camps and malnourishment centers, according to the FMSC website.
The SLP Honor Society heads up monthly service projects. Service is one of four pillars the group’s principles are based on, the others being scholarship, leadership and character.
Some of the service projects are becoming a tradition at the high school, according to Lemberg.
The famine project taught students what it was like to experience hunger, he said.
“It taught them to learn empathy for what’s happening outside of our little world. There’s bigger things happening,” he said.
Among other service projects the NHS has undertaken are: carving pumpkins for Springbrook Nature Center’s Pumpkin Night in the Park event before Halloween and making tie blankets for Alexandra House victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Next month, the group comprising about 45 11th- and 12th-grade students, is planning its annual overnight sleep-out near the front of the high school to raise funds for those in need. Last year proceeds were donated to Simpson Housing Services Minneapolis Minnesota Shelter for the homeless.
Lukens said the most difficult part of the 24-hour fast was 14 hours into it when “you get really hungry.”
Still, she enjoyed packing food at FMSC, she said.
“Once you get into it and forget about it (fasting) and get working, it’s fun,” Lukens said. “It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.”
For Lukens, the fun part was listening to music while packaging the food and the competition between volunteers to see who could fill the most boxes.
“You’re with friends and it’s going to a great cause,” Lukens said.
Last year, the group underwent a 30-hour fast. Proceeds were donated to Help the Horn for the hungry in Africa.
On Jan. 31 at 8 p.m., the NHS students broke their fasts with a pizza party.
Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]