Young People Transform Fasting Into Aid For Others

The group after their fast

From the 12th to the 13th of March, Kingfishers, the youth group of Christ the King parish, Alfreton took on a 24 hour fast and sleepover in aid of CAFOD. Twenty-five young people and their group leaders joined with CAFOD in their ‘give it up’ campaign – having only drinks during this time, and sleeping on the floor of the Parish hall.

The young people, ranging from Year 6 to Year 10 pupils, came mostly from the schools of Christ the King Primary and St Mary’s Secondary. They were sponsored for their efforts and the amount of money collected is almost £400.

Transforming 24 hours into….

We took the theme of ‘transforming lives’ as the foundation of our event. During our time together, we looked at how our small sacrifices could benefit others.

All the DS players and other games the young people had brought with them were collected at the beginning of the event. This meant they sacrificed the time they would have spent on these to learn about what life is like for some of the poorest people in our world. We did this by watching CAFOD video clips about ‘turning chocolate into bees’ and ‘biscuits into bikes’ and ‘magazines into shelters’.

Then we did activities representing all these ideas. The young people decorated a bike with wrappers from biscuits and sweets – with huge cardboard ‘biscuits’ for wheels! We made bees out of wool, and bricks out of old newspapers which can actually be used to build or for fuel.

We each kept a diary of how we felt during the 24 hours, and comments on these ranged from ‘I’m enjoying the games and being with my friends, but starting to feel hungry now!’ to ‘I feel inspired’ and ‘I’m really glad I have done this’.

Bringing it all before the Lord

At the end of our time together, parents and families of the participants were invited to a service designed to bring all our activities and sacrifices to the Lord. We sang a  joyful hymn and clapped; shared our diaries; prayed in thanksgiving for all that we have; made and performed our own song; prayed for those in need; did drama to express the message of ‘give it up’ and celebrated our achievement together!

Reflecting on what we did, the young people shared thoughts like ‘it really helps you appreciate what you have’ and ‘I’m looking forward to deciding on the things we are going to buy to help people’.  Some of the things we have decided to buy already are bicycles to help people get medical supplies to remote places, bees and other animals to help families have an income, and school supplies for young people in need of education.

Although we were all a little tired and hungry after our 24 hour fast, there was a wonderful atmosphere of celebration and gratitude that we had been given the opportunity to be, even in a small way, united with those in need. We are also glad to be able to offer help, and glad for what we ourselves learned together. 

Sister Marianne Lucchesi

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