Hundreds of organizations around the world work to raise awareness of world hunger. “Nearly 870 million people, or one in eight people in the world, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.” Statistics such as this, along with photographs and true stories of the world’s hungry have found their way to people who can help. But what these figures and images cannot do to a person is allow them to know what hunger really is—to move one beyond sympathy and allow them to possess real comprehension of what hunger feels like. This is the premise upon which the “Fast-a-Thon” was laid.

For years, college campuses across the U.S. and Canada have held annual “Fast-a-Thons” in an effort to fight hunger, both locally and internationally. The idea was coined by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and has since been taken on by hundreds of college campuses, charity organizations, and businesses across continental America.

Here’s how it works: a group of students, community members, co-workers, etc. pledge to fast for a day (some for 24 hours, some from morning to evening). For each pledge, a business sponsor donates a certain amount of money to a charity of the group’s choosing. At the end of the day, Fast-a-Thon participants come together to share a meal to break their fast. In solidarity with those in hunger and in support of alleviating their pain, Fast-a-Thon participants have raised hundreds to thousands of dollars to feed the hungry.

Interested in hosting a Fast-a-Thon in your community? Follow this easy step-by-step guide:

1. Find the beneficiary to whom all donations will go towards. This could be a local soup kitchen or an umbrella organization fighting hunger.

2. Find businesses that will sponsor your Fast-a-Thon or, in other words, agree to donate a certain amount of money to your chosen beneficiary for every Fast-a-Thon pledge made.

3. Spread the word and encourage everyone to pledge and participate!

4. Host a dinner where participants can break their fasts together.

– Lina Saud

Sources: World Hunger, MSA Texas
Photo: Stephen Leahy