Armed with a sleeping bag, a single plastic bag of necessities and a water bottle, Immanuel Baptist Church youth will get to experience hunger, homelessness and community service this weekend.
“Homeless and Hungry is an effort to combat homelessness and hunger in our society that is all around us,” said Immanuel Youth Pastor Darrin Reynolds. “We encouraged our students to do something different to learn about the plight of the homeless and the hungry – go without for a weekend. This event consists of a 30-hour famine, volunteering within our local community and collecting canned goods for our church’s food pantry. As a unique twist, our students and adults will sleep in cardboard boxes overnight.”
Reynolds said there are between 700,000 and 2 million homeless people in the U.S., and 3.5 million people, including 1.35 million children, will experience homelessness in a given year. He said 31 million Americans currently live in hunger or on the verge of hunger.
The event kicks off Saturday at 9 a.m., but those participating must begin their 30-hour famine individually at midnight. The youth will then split up into groups and go to various worksites, including Fiddlers Grove, Cumberland University, Holbrook Metal Collection and in and around the church.
On Saturday afternoon, the groups will come together to visit neighborhoods to collect canned food items. That evening, there will be worship time before entering their cardboard boxes to sleep.
The youth will end their 30-hour famine with breakfast Sunday at 6 a.m. They will enter the morning worship service at 8:30 a.m. and Sunday school to follow as is without the chance to change clothes or take a shower.
“Homeless and Hungry was an unforgettable event that will be ever remembered by the youth of Immanuel Baptist Church,” said Evan Hemontolor, following the event in 2012. “It was a blessing to be able to work with the community and to be able to realize what the homeless and hungry go through. Nothing should ever stand in the way for the care of other people, and we continue to strive toward the satisfaction of giving God all of the glory He rightly deserves.”