Students give up weekend to fast for a worthy cause

Instead of dashing out of school on Friday afternoon like most students, some at Pope John Paul II Catholic Secondary School chose to give their weekend to charity.

More than 50 staff and students from Grades 9 to 12 participated in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine by staying overnight, fasting for 30 hours and raising almost $3,000.

The event started at 1 p.m. on Feb. 27 and ended at 7 p.m. the next day.

“It’s a Friday night and the students are at school,” teacher Jill Forester said. “It shows how important this is for them.”

The 30 Hour Famine taking place this April, is an international event held in 21 countries every year. Participants abstain from eating food, opting instead to drink only liquids. Money raised is donated to World Vision to help starving families around the world.

“We get to live a day in the life of somebody else who isn’t as fortunate as us today,” said Rochelle D’Souza, a Grade 12 student and president of the school’s executive leadership council (ELC), “We want to raise awareness of children starving in other countries to the school and the community as well.”

This is Pope John Paul II’s first time holding a 30 Hour Famine. For the past 15 years, the school has held similar events called Starve-a-thon’s, in which students fasted for 24 hours.

“Children in other countries go more than a day without food,” Suzanne Regimbal, an English and religion teacher and a supervisor for the ELC said.  “That’s why we changed it to 30 hours.”

D’Souza and other students in the ELC have been working on this event for two months.  The council held activities in the school’s gym to keep everyone from thinking about food, while a  DJ booth played upbeat music for the students all night.