Fasting for a Cause this Ash Wednesday

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An ancient holiday gets a new spin - young people fasting to fight global poverty. Global Fast is a youth movement that empowers young people to create real change. With the motto, "Give one day, change lives forever," fasters around the nation have already impacted hundreds or thousands of lives in Haiti, the Philippines, Sudan and Ethiopia. Launching on Feb 6 through March, this year's Global Fast will create material and spiritual change through fasting, prayer and charity.

As millions of Christians prepare to fast and pray this Ash Wednesday (Feb 6), a youth movement called Global Fast is giving the sacred holiday new meaning and new appeal.

With the motto, "Give one day, change lives forever," Global Fast fights global poverty by asking people to fast and pray for one day, while donating what they would have spent on food to create lasting change through worthy charities.

"Global Fast gives us all a way to make a difference together," says Global Fast founder Rich Halvorson. "One vanilla latte that we drink in 20 minutes can give someone clean water for 5 years - that's a real impact."

While fasters can give to any charity they see fit, participants are encouraged to consider Global Fast partner Food For The Poor - who will match all donations and use them to benefit Haiti - which is just a few hundred miles from Florida, but remains one of the three poorest nations in the world.

"It's important to know that our daily choices have the power to truly change lives," says Halvorson. As a result of the inaugural Global Fast in 2007, a sustainable fishing project feeds hundreds of people every day in Anse d'Hainault, Haiti. (see video at

"Because thousands gave their food for one day, hundreds in Haiti are providing for their families for a whole lifetime," says Halvorson. "Food For The Poor not only taught these people to fish, but gave them the tools to make it a lifelong enterprise that will feed their families and the whole village."

For colleges, high schools and youth groups, Global Fast gives young people a concrete focus and purpose that makes a day of fasting far more meaningful. They identify with the poor in their suffering and find a way to directly impact others' lives even with a small gift of sacrifice. Since Lent is a season of sacrifice, Global Fast is a great way to practice sacrifice and selflessness for others. In our culture of immediate gratification, spending a day on water alone, without food, proves to be a real challenge.

Last year's kickoff event in February 2007 drew fasting and prayer groups from across the United States, in Spain, Uganda, the Phlippines, Mexico and Colombia. Since then, the movement has spread organically as diverse groups use the Global Fast model to raise new funds for Save Darfur, AIDS relief, to end human trafficking and to build clean water wells in Africa.

This year, schools, parishes and groups from New York to Nebraska, and as far away as Turkey and Australia will join in the Ash Wednesday fast on February 6. Other charity groups have indicated fasting events planned for later in the year, pegged to certain meaningful dates.

About Global Fast
Global Fast is a youth movement dedicated to both spiritual and material change created through fasting, prayer and charity. Beginning in 2007, Global Fast partnered with seven highly rated charities to create a global impact through the practice of personal sacrifice for others. Global Fast is inspired by Isaiah 58, which describes the 'true fasting' that God desires - which breaks the bonds of injustice and feeds the hungry. Global Fast believes that personal charity and faith-driven efforts are critical for global change - GF supports innovative, sustainable and efficient relief projects that create lasting change and empower personal initiative among our poorest brothers and sisters. (

About Food For The Poor
Food For The Poor is the second largest relief and development organization in the United States, working in 16 countries across the Caribbean and Latin America. Since 1982, they have provided clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and emergency relief to the poorest of the poor. More than 96% of all donations to the organization go directly to programs that help the poor. (

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Ernae Mothershed


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Ernae Mothershed

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