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Helping Youth Embrace the Uncommon Good

One of my favorite writing challenges over the past several years has been partnering with Catholic Relief Services to develop FoodFast, the hunger awareness experience designed to help youth deepen their faith as they actually make a difference for those who don't have enough food.

Jane Angha and I, working closely with Ted Miles of CRS, had an amazing journey beginning in 2014 as we immersed ourselves in the reality of hunger across the globe. The fruits of our labors are online at foodfast.crs.org. Two years ago CRS published "Is it just food or is it JUST FOOD?" Last year our theme was "Why do so many go hungry if there is ENOUGH FOOD FOR ALL?" And now CRS has just released "Embracing UNCOMMON GOOD for the good of all!"

While the research and writing were hard (writing creative, youth-friendly, relevant resources is never easy), this entire experience has been such a blessing in my life. Here is why.

  1. First of all, seeing how much hunger still exists in our world when there is truly enough to feed everyone makes me sad. But it also makes me ready to take on the challenge to do something about it. Educating and inspiring young people to do their part is one way I can make a difference.
  2. Second, when I hear the stories of those who are hungry, I am reminded of how blessed, how fortunate, how lucky I am. As a farmer's daughter, I grew up always having enough to eat. That has never changed. But so often I took it for granted. No longer! FoodFast helps me remember my blessing and my responsibility as a Catholic and a member of God's one family to help those who don't have enough.
  3. Third, I always walk away from this writing (not that you really can walk away from knowing how many children will go to bed without food tonight) rejoicing in the opportunity to collaborate with such good, holy people. Jane and Ted are a joy, and I thank God for them.

I invite you to check out FoodFast. It is a genuinely Catholic immersion experience, rooted in Scripture and Catholic social teaching. It aims to touch the head, heart, and hands and feet of the participants by engaging them in prayer, simulations, social media, and other activities. And it gives young people the opportunity to contribute to solutions right now.

FoodFast is flexible. There are actually three versions posted on the website. And the time frame is also flexible, with these possibilities: the 24-hour fast; the 10-hour version; a three-hour experience; a Confirmation retreat; and a family night. One of these should fit into any youth ministry or faith formation calendar! Oh, there is one more thing. FoodFast materials are free. Yes, that's right. CRS doesn't charge a dime for the resources. That in itself is a blessing, if not a small miracle.

I'd love to hear about your experience of FoodFast. If you are planning one for Lent of 2017, please let me know how it impacted your youth. We'd love to hear what worked and what didn't work for you. I can be found at .

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