We met about 5pm; Katie Mulholland and Samantha Holley spent some time educating those gathered about homelessness and the issues that surround it. They shared why we were focusing on homelessness, rather than our "normal" 30 Hour Famine event. We spent some time reading scripture from Isaiah 58, on what REAL fasting looks like. After that, we divided the group into 2 "families"-the Papendorfs and the Jones' (yep, the apostrophe is misplaced on purpose...ask them!). Some of the students were given disabilities for their familoes to contend with; we had a broken arm, an alcoholic, and then the students were limited to only carrying 5 items each, including their sleeping bag. the students then played a game where they had to "earn" shelter, food, and medicine points. As an example, I had several students wash the windows on my van, for which they recieved points. the team with the most food points got to east first (as well as an extra cookie) and the team with the most shelter points got to pick the location of their "box city" first. Following a meal of peanut butter sandwiches, a cookie, and a bag of chips or crackers, we headed down to clean the stadium where the Cedar Rapids Kernels play, only this time, all money raised is going to help the Cedar House Shelter downtown. We returned to the church about 11:45, set up our two camps, prayed, and then settled in for a chilly, damp night sleeping in cardboard boxes. It was about 1am by this time.
We woke to the sounds of thunder and flashes of lightning aabout 5:45am Saturday morning. Within moments, it began to drip, and since we were getting up at 6, we woke all the kids up and had them take their stuff inside. We had no sooner made it in, when the rains came. We did some clean-up around the church, and went to the kitchen to prepare the meal that we were going to take down to the Cedar House Shelter for breakfast. We arrived at Cedar House by 7:20, served the folks there, and then ate. We were given a list of 30 items for us to work on. Other than a certain problem with a ceiling fan, we got about 25 of the items done. We left Cedar House around 11:45 and went to the Hy-Vee on Collins Rd to buy lunch.
We again divided into our 2 families, the Papendorfs (8 in family) were given $12 to buy lunch for all, and the Jones' (7 in family) had $10. We then went to a goodwill store to get some t-shirts that we were going to decorate withour our own design. We returned to Eastview, ate lunch, and then gave the group 45 minutes-an hour to chill out. Around 3pm, we got back together and decorated our t-shirts, made our group sign, and talked about our presentation on Sunday. We had some closing group time, sang some songs, and I challenged the kids to not make this year's 30 Hour Famine a one-time thing. Karen Cripe and Monna Kreher were kind enough to supply our last meal. they went withthe soup kitchen format, first putting some food in garbage bags and hiding it around the building, and then serving soup to us. We finished right about 6pm.
As I wrote earlier, each of the kids did a great job. The helped when asked, and worked hard without complaint. We got a ton of work done, and several of the kids are already talking about doing something with Cedar House on a more consistent basis. We'll close this year's official event next Sunday, during our corporate worship with a slide show. In the meantime, check out some photos, top right.