Originally created 03/03/05

Children from church give out food, money



After about 30 hours without food, more than 60 middle and high school pupils were ready for the hamburgers being prepared.

However, there was one more lesson for the youths from New Life Christian Center.

"This is called unimix," said Amy Maxwell, a children's pastor at the church as she held up a see-through plastic container of a purplish-colored concoction.

"When kids are severely malnourished, they make this mix and give it to them," she said.

The mix contained sugar, corn meal, mashed beans, powdered milk and oil.

Each child was given a taste.

Throughout the "30-hour famine," the children and their adult chaperones were learning lessons in giving and compassion.

"It made me realize how much we take for granted," said Kayla Derrick, a Merriwether Middle School eighth-grader.

The lock-in began Friday with the children having their last meal at lunchtime. For the next 24 hours they would learn about hardships that people face.

The children were divided into five tribes. There were about a dozen children on each team and two chaperones.

At the beginning of the evening, each child was given a card, half the children in the tribe were healthy and the other half received a disability.

Some children were blind and had to wear a blindfold throughout the evening. Others had a leg that was withered from disease and wore a splint, and others were required to wear a 15-pound knapsack to remind them of the pain of hunger.

"I couldn't take it off," said Robert Tallent, a fifth-grader at Martinez Baptist Christian School.

The "disabilities" reminded them about the burdens that some people constantly live with, said Tonya Eller, one of the adult leaders.

Another part of the 30-hour famine taught about giving. Each tribe had $50 and were given the task of finding someone who the entire team thought really needed the money.

One group went to May Park and played basketball with some of the children there. Another tribe went to Doctors Hospital and gave the money to an employee in the kitchen.

"She had just prayed about finances," Mrs. Maxwell said.

Another tribe went to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital and gave the money to a young mother from Commerce, Ga., whose 2-week-old baby was in intensive care.

"She cried. We cried. Everybody was blessed," said Diane Ryals, another adult chaperone.

By midafternoon Saturday, there was another lesson in charity with the children spending two hours distributing food and clothing to more than 200 people at the church's outreach building, Helping People Start Over.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.



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