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The 21st 30 Hour Famine Hero Rally kicks off with thousands of participants volunteering in communities across Taiwan (08/07/10)

The 21st 30 Hour Famine Hero Rally kicked off today at 12:00 pm in seven locations in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Kaoshiung, and Yilan. Immediately following the opening ceremonies, over 4,500 people got involved in 32 community service activities organized by World Vision throughout Taiwan. An estimated 15,000 “famine heroes,” having completed DIY famine and community service, will gather at Linkou Gymnasium tomorrow to continue the rally. 

Taipei’s opening event, started at noon with intermittent rain showering over 300 participants. Undeterred by bad weather, 30 Hour Famine Ambassadors Elva Hsiao and Stanley Huang kicked off the Hero Rally and led volunteers in a two-hour street promotion activity in Xinmending district, raising awareness and funds for people affected by climate change and other humanitarian disasters around the world.

“Today is the eve of the one year anniversary for Typhoon Morakot. We are here together to remember this special day for Taiwan. It reminds us that we should all pay attention to climate change and care for people affected at home and across the world,” said Hank Du World Vision Taiwan Executive Director during in his opening address, 

“I’m happy to announce that this year’s DIY Famine participation has broken records again. Moreover, thousands of participants are performing community services across Taiwan today. They will not only experience the feel of hunger but also the value of service, ” Mr. Du added.

“When it began to rain I thought about the Kenyan people. If they saw this rain they would be very happy. Fighting hunger is not easy. We should keep going and never give up no matter what,” said Ms. Hsiao.

“When I heard that Director Du announce the number of this year’s participants, I was proud that Taiwanese people are so caring and loving. I hope everyone will continue to care and give,” said Mr. Huang.

The participants, including the celebrity ambassadors, were divided into 15 groups and walked around the streets of Ximending to distribute leaflets, raise money, and encourage people to sign a pledge, “I will take action to end hunger.”

Xiou Lin, a fan of Elva Hsiao, said after volunteering, “When I saw many people walking toward us and dropping money into our Love Loaf piggy bank, I knew there are many generous people in Taiwan.”

Xiou Lin admitted that she had joined the community service to show her support for her idol. However, after experiencing this meaningful event, she promised, “I will keep joining the 30 Hour Famine in the future. “

At the end of the service, Xiou Lin’s group won the street promotion competition by gaining 291 signatures for the fight hunger pledge. They were awarded the privilege of taking photos with the two celebrity ambassadors on center stage.
At Majia Farm in Pingtung County, 300 volunteers gave their time and effort to help complete new homes for families who lost their homes last year to Typhoon Morakot. There are 483 homes currently being built at Majia with funding through the 30 Hour Famine campaign. The First Lady of Taiwan will attend a special One Year Anniversary concert at Majia Farm later this evening.

In Taichung, the 30 Hour Famine Hero Rally opened with an African style dance performance at Ming Dao High School. The venue was also decorated with symbolic elements of Eastern African wild life, water, and green trees to create the scenario of an imaginary flourishing land of Kenya.

At Chiayi’s opening, time was reversed to a year ago when Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan.  A street theater performance depicted typhoon survivors suffering the ordeal and receiving relief aid. Another drama demonstrated the contrast of life conditions between Taiwan and Kenya to give the audience a glimpse of the struggles facing millions of people in the underdeveloped world.

After the opening ceremonies, the 700 participants were divided into groups to clean up Chiayi Park or advocate for child health and against climate change on the streets.

“The weather is so hot, and I feel so hungry,” said Yen Yi-Ping.  “But compared with children in Kenya, we are far more fortunate! I’m determined to hang on till the end of the 30 hours.”

At Crescent Beach of Zhubei City, Hsinchu County, 400 participants combed the beach under a scorching sun picking up bottles, cans, polyester containers, driftwood, and all sorts of waste swept ashore by winds and ocean currents.

“By serving our own communities through the 30 Hour Famine, I hope more citizens will be inspired to extend their care to the world. We should all do our part to help protect our planet,” said high school student Cai Xin-Jie.

In addition to cleanup, World Vision also partnered with Hsinchu County Environmental Protection Department to arrange a “turning garbage into love” activity, where the participants exchanged recyclable waste from their homes for new tissue paper.

In Taipei County, a group of 80 St. Ignatius High School students carried drinking water on their back and climbed up Guan-Yin Mountain to serve occasional hikers running short of water.

“I once wanted to give up on our way up the mountain, but with support of my friends, I finally made it!” said Huang Bo-Rui, “Next time when I encounter challenges, I will remember today!”

The leader of the group Du Jia-Yu said, “Through the 30 Hour Famine and a community service activity like this, I wanted to give my students an opportunity to live out the concept of giving and serving.”

Service activities in other opening ceremony locations also included street cleanup, reading with children, and caring for needy children and elderly people. 

This year, the 30 Hour Famine campaign, co-sponsored by 7-ELEVEN, aims to raise NT$172 million (US$5.3 million) to support emergency relief programs in 32 countries including Taiwan. From July 1 through September 31, donations can be made at 7-ELEVEN’s 4,717 stores island wide. 
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