Seeing Poverty First Hand Changed My Life

If you are one of the hundreds of youth workers leading a 30 Hour Famine event this weekend, you might want to know how to encourage your youth to take their fundraising and experience to the Study Tour level.  Abby Lewis, a high school junior and member of the youth group at St. Barnabas United Methodist Church in Arlington, TX, shares her story of being on the 2011 World Vision 30 Hour Famine Study Tour.

High School Junior Abby Lewis on the 30HF Study Tour to Burundi, Africa

This past summer, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime to travel with World Vision to the “Heart of Africa” – the small beautiful country of Burundi. This life-changing experience was brought about after I participated in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine last year. The 30 Hour Famine is an event done by youth groups and schools around the country, where people fast for 30 hours to raise awareness about world hunger.

As many of you know, I also fundraised in the weeks leading up to the Famine. Last year, I raised almost $3000. This money changed so many lives as a kid can receive food, water, health care, education, and other necessities for just $1 a day. That $3000 was also multiplied 5 times by government grants!  This year, I will be fasting on February 24th and 25th, and that means it’s time to fundraise again!

Funds raised from 30 Hour Famine provide life-saving clean water to the people of Burundi

This year is also different though, as I have now seen extreme poverty, hunger and suffering firsthand.  When I was in Burundi, it became evident to me how much good the money that we send over there is doing. I saw health clinics, clean water projects, and school meal projects that had been created using 30 Hour Famine money. I saw the happiness on the faces of the mothers whose children 30 Hour Famine funds are saving. I saw so much progress… but I also saw so much pain and suffering. The fight to end world hunger is not close to being over. People are dying everyday from completely preventable causes that could’ve been avoided if they had just had something nutritious to eat.

I feel it has become my responsibility to be the voice for the 22,000 kids that die EACH day from hunger-related causes. I was truly changed by what I saw in Burundi and that is why I am asking you to please donate to 30 Hour Famine. When 30 Hour Famine started, around 35,000 kids died each day from hunger – now we have helped to 13,000 kids from dying each day! I hope to live to see the day when no child dies from hunger!

Thank you for you kindness and generosity,

Abby Lewis

To sign up your group or learn more about one of the most life-changing youth events available, go to

If your ministry is not already participating in 30 Hour Famine and you feel led to donate to Abby’s fundraising efforts, click here.


Does your group participate in 30 Hour Famine?  Any tips for success or stories to share?

In what other world hunger relief efforts have you participated?



Abby Lewis is a high school junior at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas.  She is a great student, active in school and an inspiring leader in the youth group at St. Barnabas United Methodist Church.  Abby can often be found speaking to large audiences as a student ambassador for World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine.


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