A privilege and a sacrifice

Teens fast, donate labor to help fight starvation

For 15-year-old Brandon Peacock, going to work on an empty stomach wasn't really a sacrifice.

It was the right thing to do.

So with that commitment, Peacock and more than 50 other local youth joined a 30-hour fast Friday. On Saturday, they gave their time and labor to raise money for starving people in other countries.

Skipping a few meals, Pea--cock said, gave him a sense of what hunger means and what starving people are going through.

The experience, though brief, was "as much a privilege as it is a sacrifice," he said.

Hours into the fast, Peacock was busy Saturday morning on one of the many job sites around town that was benefiting from the teen labor. Peacock's crew was helping a family move boxes, furniture and appliances from a house on Washington Street.

A fellow worker, Brittnie Durham, 18, echoed Pea--cock's view of the project, which was coordinated by John Graler, youth minister at Craig's First Christian Church.

The short-term fast, she said, was well worth it. And the money the young workers raised through donations will help others.

"It's cool to see the impact it makes on kids in other countries," she said.

She had no regrets about passing up a few meals.

Going without, Durham said, "seems difficult until you think of why you're doing it and think about kids in other countries who don't have anything to eat. That makes it all worthwhile."

The young people involved in the project solicited donations around town, offering to provide labor for all manner of work. Donations for their labor were voluntary.

Graler said Saturday that the project goal of raising $5,000 had been met.

The money raised will help people in Kenya and Rwanda, but also people in the Yampa Valley, he said. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds will come back to the local area through an organization called Love in the Name of Christ (Love INC).

Three local churches were involved in the project, which is part of a national campaign to fight famine sponsored by World Vision, an international Christian relief group. The churches are the First Christian Church and Calvary Baptist Church of Craig and the Congregational Church of Hayden.

The youth involved ranged from sixth-graders to high school seniors.

After spending Friday night at the First Christian Church, the youths started work Saturday morning.

Some loaded household goods for a family preparing for a move, others were out handling hay. One crew worked at First Christian Church hanging cabinets, and another was at the Shadow Mountain clubhouse cleaning, painting and hanging curtains. Others took down some of the city's downtown Christmas decorations. Donations of water and Gatorade from Kmart, City Market and Safeway, helped get them through the day.

Saturday evening, the work finished, the workers reassembled at First Christian to review their day -- and have an evening meal that ended their fast.

Graler told them how important their efforts had been and how they had impressed people in the community.

He had been out with his young workers Saturday. As he watched a crew loading some household goods onto pickups, Graler talked about the commitment the youths had made in joining the project.

Making the decision to give up their time for such a project isn't an easy thing to do, he said.

"We emphasize service and mission," Graler said. "They're getting it."

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