Fasting students camp out to raise money for homeless

Brian Close

The flaming garbage can and sleeping bags on 17th Avenue Southeast are not pieces of a transient camp, but they might help homeless and hungry people.
More than 15 students are fasting for a day and camping out in front of the University Episcopal Center to promote hunger awareness issues. In their efforts, the students are raising money and gathering food for Loaves and Fishes Too, which serves hot meals to the hungry.
The students are members of Intersection, a group of people from various faiths who work together on projects and learn about other religions.
This year’s food drive is the third the group has held annually. The donations have been given to a different organization each year.
Janet Wheelock, a chaplain at the center, said the event is meant to encourage anyone to participate, and that the discomfort of sleeping outside will help raise awareness for the plight of the homeless.
“The beauty is that all the world religions have fasting as a religious discipline,” she said. “This is a way for us to experience that together.”
The group ate a meal together at noon on Monday before beginning the fast. Goldy Gopher was on hand to encourage donations, which were taken outside.
A prayer before the meal dedicated the event “in remembrance of those who do not have as much.”
Steph Jutila, a University junior, said the hunger people feel is not only physical.
“We are lucky to be able to have food, but also to have our relationships,” she said.
Pairs of students kept vigil outside throughout Monday night, and all participants will come together today at noon for another shared meal.