First Congregational Church of Montclair Children Fast to Raise Money for Others

First Congregational Church of Montclair Children Fast to Raise Money for Others

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small.  All things wise and wonderful, God made them all.  In God there is no Us and Them but rather one family and community joined together by God’s love.  He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes their eyes to them will receive many afflictions.  (Proverbs 28:27)


The Child Sponsorship Program is the place to get connected because we walk the journey together with our partners to provide a practical way for individuals and churches to extend a helping hand to needy children.  Designated gifts are used to provide food, basic health care, clothing and in some cases housing, school fees, uniforms, training and livelihood opportunities to orphaned and abandoned children in Armenia, China, Lebanon, India, the Philippines, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Haiti and Palestinian Territories.  In addition, the program honors diversity in cultures and the faiths of others.  Over the years more than 3,500 needy children have been provided financial assistance and 100% of designated gifts go to the centers/children.  Would you like to welcome Jesus by sponsoring a child in his name?


On Good Friday, while most school-aged kids in New Jersey enjoyed the day off by playing video games or hanging out with friends, Confirmands in the First Congregational Church of Montclair’s Youth Group spent the day fasting and raising money for hunger relief.

Their “last supper” was a delicious lamb dinner prepared at church on Maundy Thursday.  From then on, the kids pledged to only drink water or fruit juice for the next 24 hours.  Eight middle and high school students took part in the event to raise money for the Global Ministries Child Sponsorship Program, which provides food and educational expenses and in some cases housing for children in need around the world.   

As part of the 24-Hour Famine, the youth spent the evening and next day with youth group leaders Mattie Johnson and Tom Walton (who were also fasting!), thinking about hunger and taking part in activities to raise their own personal awareness.  Those events included researching hunger in developing countries, baking the bread used for Easter Sunday communion, raising money on the streets of Montclair with the “Honk for Hunger” campaign, and playing a game of Third World Life.

“It was amazing to see the kids wake up and be ready for the day without stopping for or even thinking about breakfast,” explained Mattie Johnson. “And that focus and energy continued for the whole day.  Between the group bonding and the justice activities, I felt the kids were so ready to have such a fun, eye-opening experience.”

Prior to the famine, the kids raised money by hosting a “famine coffee hour” where they served FCC’s congregation foods that are typically given to malnourished children, and collected food for a local food pantry.  

The kids ended their fast with a simple meal at the church prepared by their mentors and parents and then attended Tenebrae service before finally heading home.

“Raising money for hungry kids during the Honk for Hunger was my favorite part of the event,” explained Sam.  For Kayla, the best part was, “Spending time with the other confirmation kids and playing Sardines.”

Regardless of their favorite part, the kids managed to raise over $1,600 for the Global Ministries Child Sponsorship Program!  The money collected will be used to feed and educate four children for an ENTIRE YEAR. The Youth Group chose to sponsor two visually-impaired children in Botswana, one child in the Philippines, and one in Tibet! The Youth Group members are looking forward to building a relationship with their new friends and plan on making the 24-Hour Famine a yearly event!

“We are so proud of the work these kids have done.  They moved out of their comfort zones to experience for just a day what so many children experience every day,” beamed Reverend Ann Ralosky. “It was wonderful to see them gain a new perspective and educate the congregation at the same time.  We all learned so much!”

Story written by Melissa Ragan, Parent Volunteer of First Congregational Church of Montclair in New Jersey.