Online Link to Article about our Shanty Town Food Fast
that appeared in The Criterion on April 8, 2016
February 19–20, 2016
During this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis asks that the Church and her members live out the loving mercy that God has for all of us. He asks that during Lent we concentrate on reflecting God’s mercy in our daily life and to focus on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
In response to his call, over a dozen of our St. Anthony High School Youth participated in a 24-hour Shanty Town Food Fast.
On Friday evening, February 19, our youth set up a Shanty Town (cardboard box village) in the Parish Gym and watched the movie “God’s Not Dead.” After spending the night in their cardboard shanties, they set out for a day of service.
Starting out at 8:45am on February 20, they helped with various chores at the Center for Lay Ministries in Jeffersonville. By 11:00am they were onto the next activity, which involved going door to door in the neighborhood behind Providence High School to ask for food donations for the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.
Following that, St. Elizabeth's in New Albany needed some outside cleaning and yard work done. After returning to St. Anthony later in the afternoon, they put together toiletry kits to distribute to the homeless as a R.A.O.K. (Random Act of Kindness).
Our youth finished up their busy service-filled day and broke their fast that evening with the Eucharist at 5:00pm Mass.
Youth Reflections on the Experience
"Going into this, I really didn't know what to expect. I thought I just be completely exhausted and complaining about not having anything to eat. However, this day went so much better than I expected. Helping Bonnie at the lay ministry was a wonderful experience. There was a lot she needed our help with, and you could just tell she was so grateful. Knowing that I was helping organize food that was going to help so many hungry people was incredible. Going door-to-door asking for canned goods was fun. It was amazing to see how many people in our community were willing to help. Cleaning up at Saint Elizabeth's was a good service project for us to do. Giving mothers a chance to relax and spend time with their kids was something they were extremely thankful for I'm sure. Yes, I'm a little hungry and tired, but Jesus suffered far greater than I ever well, so that is what got me through the day."
— Hannah Hanlon
"When I came in I expected to be very bored and an activity that was the same as Summer Daze. When we got started, I was not interested, but then we watched God's Not Dead which changed my perspective a little bit. The way people changed throughout the movie is the way I felt for the rest of the next day. When I got to Bonnie's Pantry/Lay Ministry I was excited to work, even though it was nine in the morning. I was pleased to do it, but I had a full day of work. When the day’s work was over, I was anxious to just relax and let God 'take the wheel.' I realize, now, that most of the things that others do on a daily basis can be something I can do weekly."
— Michael Gill
"My experience at the food fast was very great. The first night I was excited to be doing the food fast. I loved the discussion we had before we watched the movie. I also really liked the movie. It made me think a lot. It was amazing to me how Josh stood up to his professor in the movie. I was not excited to sleep on the floor, but I did. The next morning we did some service at the food pantry. I love how grateful Bonnie seemed after we helped her out with different things. It made me feel good. The food fast really helped me see how lucky I am to have food and warm clothes. It really made me think about how unfortunate other people are and that is really sad. The food fast was very fun and eye opening."
— Rylee Pitzer
"Going in today's portion of the food fast I was happy that we were going to go out and help others. It is always an eye-opening experience when we go to these organizations, like Saint Elizabeth's and lay ministry, and see how hard they work for the good of others. I enjoyed going around my neighborhood to collect cans for the food pantry. It's always good to help others and this was a great opportunity for me to help."
— Emma Flispart
"The food fast helped me realize the importance of Jesus’ suffering and how we can join together to help others. Pope Francis says we should all join in and perform the corporal acts of mercy, which I feel we’ve really done during this fast. I like helping those in need who were hungry, as well as doing yard work for the people who needed help. Even though I was hungry, I really wanted to experience a full 24 hours or as much as I could, as someone in need. I tried my best not to complain, and I enjoyed doing the fast and helping others. I honestly had a wonderful time."
— Alyssa Hyndman
"At first, I was like, OK, I'm going to get 24 service hours. Now, I feel good for helping everyone. During the help time, we all had fun. We helped Saint Elizabeth's, Bonnie's Pantry, and ourselves. I really enjoyed doing this."
— Trey Miller
"The food fast really opened my eyes to the fact that there are people that go many days without food. It made me want to help others not only in this situation, but those who are deprived of anything else such as water and happiness. This Lenten season and even outside of Lent, I want to make a difference in other’s lives in this area and hopefully around the world. I also learned how good it feels to help out."
— Caitlyn Freville
"This food fast has been unlike any other I have participated in. Especially during Lent, the food fast is an awesome way to relate to Christ's suffering. Although our suffering is nowhere near what Jesus went through, it's a way to put ourselves in a situation like this, without food. Today I learned that I don't have to be in a Third World country, digging trenches and feeding starving children, but I am right where God wants me. Organizing food at a local food pantry, collecting canned goods for St. Vincent de Paul, and cleaning a women's shelter is God's work. I have always been able to sympathize, but during the food fast I have been able to empathize with those who are less fortunate than myself."
— Abbi Hamm
"We watched God's Not Dead. I've seen it before, but this time it felt different. I really felt like I connected with the Reverend David. He, although a pastor, had little faith in starting the car. Sometimes I have little faith in God. I really learned a lot about my part in the world. Food fast was an inspiring event."
— Ross Reyes
"This is my third year doing the food fast. I came the first year for confirmation, but I have come back because it is a fun time of service. Not eating for a day is a challenge, but you don't think about it because you're so busy helping others! I enjoyed working at the lay ministry food pantry because it was amazing to see how much food they received and get to give to people who need it. I also like cleaning up at St. Elizabeth's because it helped make it a better environment for the mothers and their children. This was another great experience!"
— Emma Kempf
"Going into this year's food fast, I was excited to go out and do all the work, but not fast for 24 hours. We went to the lay ministry, and I was overwhelmed with joy that there was somewhere where less fortunate people could come and get food week to week. Mrs. Bonnie was so loving and sweet, and you could tell she really loved what she did. Meeting her was one of my favorite parts, she is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet. Next we went to Saint Elizabeth's where we cleaned the playground for the children. I enjoyed this because I know that the children being able to play will give mothers an opportunity for a break. Overall this has been a wonderful, experience, and I can't wait to come back next year!"
— Katie Baker
"My food fast experience has been amazing. On Friday night we opened with a prayer service and then watched God's Not Dead, as a group. The movie really opened my eyes about standing up and really believing in my faith. Saturday morning we went to a food pantry and did whatever they needed. The experience really opened my eyes to how fortunate I am. I realize some people will never be as blessed as I am and I couldn't be more thankful."
— Courtney Heselschwerdt