Every year since 1980, East Boston Central Catholic School’s junior high students have fasted for the World Harvest Day. On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, fifty-three 7th and 8th graders ate a cup of soup instead of eating their lunches. They gave their lunch money to Oxfam America.
“This is a true sacrifice, since it is their own money,” said EBCC Principal Maryanne Manfradonia. “The meal began with a prayer service which featured the song “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me.” It was a very special day at the school.”
This one day activity traditionally allows the school to send approximately $250 to Oxfam America.
Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. Together with individuals and local groups in more than 90 countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice.
To develop a US constituency and funding source, the Fast for a World Harvest campaign was begun in 1974 and has grown to become one of the largest anti-hunger campaigns in the US. On the Thursday before Thanksgiving that year, 250,000 people nationwide participated in the first Fast for a World Harvest and fasted for the day or a meal, donating their food money to Oxfam. So began a national movement to alleviate global poverty and hunger.
Across the country more than a million people participate in colleges, schools, church groups, businesses and neighborhoods for the World Harvest Day last week.
Like in schools across the country EBCC students in the program were asked to go without food from lunch until that evening or the next day.
Students, many of whom are use to having a hot meal at lunch or for dinner, got to see first hand what it was like for millions of starving children around the world every day.