Youths fast, sleep outside to gain insight into poverty

ROCK HILL – As part of their Lenten observance, six members of St. Anne Church’s youth group held a 30-hour fast April 7-8.

The fast began at 1 p.m. Friday and concluded with the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday. Nick Childs, Bradley Barth, Stephen George, Katherine Tack, Lacie Moran and Trisha Stowe participated. Youth minister Toni Pistun and volunteers chaperoned the group at the parish center. This is the 12th year the youth group has fasted as part of its Lenten service activities. The focus of the fast was to learn firsthand about poverty in the world.

The students were allowed only six ounces of juice at meal times. They took part in activities such as “Walking 10 Miles for Water.” A picture of water was hidden and the students searched for it. When they found it, they were given water. A prayer service followed.

That night the youths slept in cardboard boxes on the church grounds. The next day the group went door-to-door and collected 123 food items for The Girl’s Home of Rock Hill. They also rummaged through two trash bags from McDonald’s for a hands-on experience of waste in America.

They then visited a grocery store and counted the numbers, sizes and varieties of water available.

Finally, the hungry, tired and dirty group attended Mass together, after which they broke their fast at a local all-you-can-eat buffet.

“This is a great opportunity for the teens to experience what it’s like to live in poverty,” Pistun said. “Hopefully it’s a lesson that will inspire them to service.”