In support of the World Vision 40 Hour Famine, a group of St Paul’s students gave up their weekend to spend 40 hours serving others.
Led by Jana Stokes and Daniel Rickman, senior students Zainal Wong, Chris Penno, Holly Skelton, Katie Grant, Sarina Liang, Mikayla McClennan, Annie Hantz, Kayley Caulfield, Zara Leong and Sophie Stocker, joined forces with students from Waikato Diocesan School for Girls, to complete a weekend of service-related projects on 7-9 June.
"Thousands of kiwis, alongside us 12, participated in this weekend – all taking away something different and invaluable from the 40 hours,” says Jana.
Projects included working alongside local charities Kaivolution, a food rescue charity that works to prevent edible food from being thrown away ensuring it reaches those in need; as well as The Serve, who provide a hot evening meal all year round to anyone who is unable to afford food.
“Although providing meals for more than 50 people opened our eyes to the heart-breaking truth of these people’s lives, the effect of our service also showed us first-hand how much of an impact we can have on the community around us,” says Holly Skelton. “40 minuscule hours of our lives meant a world to these people as they were able to escape the feeling of hunger, abuse and for some even loneliness.”
The students organised and led activities such as a gold-coin movie night for students and a BBQ at sport matches to raise money for World Vision. They also hosted a party for over 80 children from the Refugee Orientation Centre Trust.
“Playing with bubbles, seeing the children demolish the food station, along with the balloons was really a surreal experience,” says Zainal Wong. “Seeing all of them smile at you just warms your heart, approving your hard work. At this point, it is more than just service.”
The weekend also consisted of helping at Waikato Hospital, escorting patients to and from a chapel service, before heading to St Joan’s Rest Home to perform a singalong concert, which had all the elderly residents doing the ‘YMCA’.
“The joy that shone upon their faces was priceless, and something we won't forget easily,” says Sophie Stocker (Year 12). “It was rewarding to see how something so simple and imperfect can be someone else’s treasure.”
The 40 Hour Famine, run by World Vision, is New Zealand’s largest youth fundraising event working to transform children’s lives around the world. Find out more at worldvision.org.nz