If you drive by a Center Grove area church this weekend, you will notice a village made of cardboard and teens braving whatever Mother Nature brings their way.
About 25 to 35 teens at Mount Auburn United Methodist Church will go 30 hours without food and sleep in shelters they make out of cardboard boxes as part of the 30-Hour Famine, a simulation of life in poverty in a developing nation. The program is part of World Vision, a humanitarian organization that seeks to educate and combat poverty across the word.
The next day, students will go around their community to do service projects and some will wash cars to raise money for World Vision, with the money being used to combat poverty and hunger for their mission.
“It is one of those things that is eye opening,” said Travis Taylor, youth pastor at the church.
Taylor participated in the event at another church about a decade ago, and the experience changed his life.
He went home and researched the statistics on hunger and poverty and found that thousands of children die daily from lack of food. He and his wife decided to adopt two little girls from Ethiopia, partly because of what he learned, he said.
“I was clueless, honestly, when I was first introduced to it,” he said.
Now, he wants teenagers and his church to adopt World Vision and to become a solution to the problem. Their church has raised $50,000 over a few years, and hope to raise between $8,000 and $10,000 during this year’s event, Taylor said.
Beginning Friday night, students will see what life is like in those struggling areas, something necessary for the students to see why the fundraiser they are doing is important, he said.
“You get that personal experience to feel like what it is like to be hungry,” Taylor said. “That is something that teenagers here do not experience.”
The centerpiece of the weekend is having students fan out across their neighborhoods and community to do good work for others, Taylor said.
“It just opens your eyes to a whole new world that you didn’t know existed,” Taylor said. “Here in the heart of Center Grove, we just don’t know what it is like to go without anything.”
Taylor prepared the students for the famine by teaching them about World Vision and that an estimated 16,000 children under the age of 5 die of hunger in third world countries daily.
Evan Brumbaugh, a senior at Center Grove High School, plans on reflecting on his reasons for participating and how he can help poverty he cannot imagine, he said.
“I am excited for an opportunity to raise donations and raise funds to feed people who couldn’t otherwise feed themselves,” he said.
Americans are blessed with food. While some Americans live in poverty, they do not die of malnutrition as impoverished people in other countries do, Brumbaugh said.
“We don’t see it much here in America,” he said.
What: Car wash to benefit World Vision
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mt. Auburn United Methodist Church, 3100 W. Stones Crossing Road, Greenwood
Cost: Donations accepted