Partial Fast Challenge for Compassion Week (Oct 19-23, 2009):
For most Americans, nourishment is easy. We go to the grocery store, head to a restaurant, or drive past a window where prepared food is handed to us in a matter of seconds. We turn on a faucet, and clean water flows instantly into our homes. We are an exception.
More than 1.1 billion people don’t have access to clean water. In many parts of the world, women and children carry 40-pound jugs for miles to retrieve their daily allotment—and even then, the water may not be safe to drink.
It’s a critical situation. Every five seconds, a child dies from hunger-related causes. Every fifteen seconds, a child dies from water-related diseases. And with the global economic slide, another 100 million people have slipped into extreme poverty.
Take the 5-Day Challenge
As an act of solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the globe, we encourage you to eat for five days, October 19-23, as the bottom economic half of the world does every day. Eat the three meals of your day using only the options below. Set aside the money you would have spent on additional groceries, and donate it to Compassion Week, which will support those who struggle with hunger and thirst.
• Plain oatmeal or Cream of Wheat
• A tortilla, rice, and beans
• Rice with bits of fish or chicken, and a vegetable
• Tap water (use your Compassion Week cup)
Portion sizes around the world are much smaller than a typical American meal. One cup or eight ounces is a generous portion. Meat is a luxury, with the average African consuming about ¾ ounce per day—the size of a small chicken nugget. Fresh fruit is rare, available only if locally grown and in season.
While these meals seem small by American standards, they actually represent diets in the broad middle when compared to the rest of the world. Half the world’s population lives on no more than $2 a day. Approximately 1 billion people live on even less—only $1 per day.
Public water systems in the United States generally provide adequate, accessible, clean water for the common good in environmentally sustainable ways.
Choosing to drink bottled water when there is a safe and convenient public source nearby can be both financially wasteful and harmful to the environment. Please avoid such options during the challenge, as they are not readily available for the people we are standing with. Drink water from your Compassion Week cup and remember the more than 1.1 billion people who don’t have access to clean water.
Please use your discernment in determining portion size and water consumption that will allow you to function in a safe manner while also experiencing what life is like for the other half of the world. If you have a medical condition, honor your physician’s recommendations. Contact your doctor if you are unsure about participating in this challenge.
Involving Your Kids
Beyond standing with others against global hunger and thirst, the 5-Day Challenge is also an experiential opportunity for you to form compassion in your family: seeing a need and doing something about it.
Throughout this challenge, use discernment with your children. Be wise with dietary limitations, and encourage honest conversation about how each person feels. Those discussions will be key in opening your family’s eyes to the needs of others.
If you have school-aged kids who are participating in the challenge, help them determine how to explain global hunger and thirst to friends who ask about the rice and beans they eat and/or the cup they use to drink.
Set aside time each day to talk about the experience, and to pray for families around the globe who face hunger and thirst every day of their lives.
Pastor Virgil will be providing daily encouragement and reflection delivered right to your inbox during the 5-Day Challenge.