Hundreds of San Fernando Valley high school students are continuing a 1 1/2-day fast through tonight, hoping to help raise more than $6.6 million to fight world hunger.
Students from at least seven local schools and church youth groups are taking part in the seventh annual World Vision 30-hour Famine, which ends tonight.
As part of the national event, the students also perform community service, an experience organizers hope will give them a better understanding of what life is like with little food.
“This helps them understand that need is not just something that happens far away; it happens right at home,” said Doug McGlashan, national director of the program.
Local groups participating this year include the Evangelical Formosan Church in Northridge; Trinity Lutheran in Reseda; W.H. Korean United Methodist in Woodland Hills; Shepherd of the Hills in Northridge; First Presbyterian Church in Northridge; Chatsworth High School; and Gateway Foursquare Church in Agoura.
Participants drink only water and fruit juices from 1 p.m. Friday until 7 tonight. Their friends and family were enlisted as sponsors.
Brandon Beard, youth pastor at Shepherd of the Hills, said his group decided to begin the fast early so they could talk to classmates at school about the experience.
“For them, they are not only helping out the kids [in other countries], they are taking a stand at their school and saying, ‘I care about other people,’ ” Beard said.
Some of the participants will walk door-to-door in low-income neighborhoods today, offering prayers and help. Others are collecting food and assisting at homeless shelters.
Most said they would gather to pray as they learn about the troubles of the poor.
More than 600,000 young people were expected to participate nationwide.