Raising awareness of hunger, homelessness

Area youths and adults participated in the annual 30-hour Famine to raise awareness of homelessness and hunger in the community on Feb 24. They first set up shop outside the Whitewater Walmart to raise awareness, holding cardboard signs and spending time in cardboard boxes. There was also a collection for items for the Whitewater Food Pantry. The participants later spent time volunteering at a shelter in Milwaukee. The day was capped with a dinner at St. Patrick’s Church. (Ryan Spoehr photo)

By Ryan Spoehr
Snow and rain held off for students and adult leaders who participated in the annual 30-Hour Famine, a local initiative to raise awareness about homelessness and a drive for the Whitewater Food Pantry.
The local kids who participated crammed themselves into cardboard boxes outside Walmart and various times held cardboard signs and greeted people entering the store. When they did this, they were about more than a day into fasting, which is a staple of the yearly event.
“It’s amazing,” said Lisa Otterbacher, organizer for the event. “It fills me up every year. We do a lot of mini missions with our youth group, but this is the hardest and it is my favorite. I think that’s because you see the kids recognizing the impact.
“I marvel everyday that we have this group of kids. They have jobs. They go to school full time. They are involved in sports. They are very busy. Yet they are taking 30 hours to not eat, sleep on a floor, be cold and be uncomfortable.”
After being at Walmart, the kids went to a service site in Milwaukee to volunteer.
“It just fills my heart, and it just reaffirms we have so much hope, and a whole lot of that hope comes from our youth,” Otterbacher said.
For more on the 30-Hour Famine, pick up the March 8 edition of the Whitewater Register.

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