By Andrea Ordonez
Sophomore Jeremiah Mallari feels his stomach churning. Standing at a table in front of Plaza Room 140 with a couple other members of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Mallari could easily walk down the hallway and in less than a minute appease his hunger at any of the Student Center's eateries. But he stays with the rest of the group the Friday before St. Patrick's Day, waiting to see if anyone else will join them.
"I know I can't physically do this, but I know that with God, I'll have the strength to get through this," he said. "I'm so hungry. I eat every four hours."
Mallari and 19 other students embarked on the 30 Hour Famine, an event sponsored by Christian humanitarian organization World Vision on March 16 and 17. In an effort to raise $3,600, the students chose to starve themselves for 30 hours in solidarity with those around the world that go without food.
"Part of the famine is that you identify with people in Somalia right now," said Candace Cody, a Hofstra student and primary organizer of the event. "So for us right now, we kind of get a feeling for what they're going through."
To avoid the temptation to eat, Cody created a schedule of events the thirty hours, which included prayer, community service activities and speakers. The packed schedule helped distract student Natalia Alvarez-Plaud from the hunger she felt.
"Doing things that are not centered around me make me not feel [my hunger] as much," she said.
When they felt their hunger getting to them, participants took the opportunity to hide in a quiet room with a video camera. The room was set up to look like the video blogs on reality television shows, where members could share their struggles with hunger during the 30 hours.
While members struggled individually at separate times, Cody said fasting until the very end of the event was particularly difficult.
"I think the last hour was the hardest, because we were so close, and yet so far," said Cody.
The event paid off for the group who, including the hungry Mallari, successfully made the complete 30 hours without eating. Exceeding its initial goal, the group raised $5,300, which will go to World Vision and help feed roughly 14 kids for a year in Somalia.