Erika Johnson will never look at her mother's stocked pantry the same way again.
"There's a lot of food in there, but it's not what I want so I say there's nothing there to eat," said the Greenbrier High School freshman, who learned about hunger through a recent object lesson.
During a weekend in March, about 30 adolescents from New Life Christian Center were Fed Up and spent 30 hours fasting food, raising money for World Vision charities and distributing food to needy families in Augusta.
"We wanted to do a community project that would impact their lives," said Amy Maxwell, leader of a group called Passion for youth ages 9 to 14.
Most of the group began their fast after lunch Friday at school. After school, the group came together for a lock-in at the church on Wylds Road.
The event was to give "a taste of what kids around the world are feeling," said Kayla Derrick, a 13-year-old Merriwether Middle School pupil. "They can go a week without eating - we've only gone 24 hours,and we're already hungry."
They opened the lock-in with a praise and worship service and then spent several hours sorting more than 10,000 pounds of food at the church's Helping People Start Over outreach building on Wrightsboro Road.
About 1:30 a.m. Saturday, back at the New Life sanctuary, "they thought they'd be getting in their cushy sleeping bags and watch a movie until they went to sleep," Maxwell said.
But the youth were given cardboard boxes and tape and told to fashion a shelter as though they were homeless people living on the streets.
To further emphasize the poverty that some families live-in, they were taken Saturday morning to the grocery store for a scavenger hunt. Divided into teams, they had to devise a way to feed their team for a week on $10.
From 2 to 4 p.m., they distributed food to needy families.
In addition to the 10,000 pounds of food from the Golden Harvest Food Bank's Manna Truck, the group distributed more than 600 loaves of bread donated by North Augusta's Breaking the Chain Ministries. Food Lion and Kroger on Wrightsboro Road donated bags for the food.
Erika said her eyes have been opened to see how "greedy" she was. She said she was amazed at the reaction of some of the people who came through the food line.
"There was one lady who saw the seasonings, and she was so excited," she said.
More than 100 families received food, said Tonya Eller, another of the Passion adult leaders. Most of the families had at least four members - many had six, eight and even 12, she said.
Rhonda Matthews, one of the church's senior pastors, said she was amazed at the attitude of the youth.
"I'm so proud of all these young people," she said. "They all have a smile on their face. They haven't eaten, and they have compassion. They've loved serving the people."
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