Small Knoxville Church Makes Huge Impact on Statewide Epidemic

City View Baptist Church held their fifth annual 30-hour famine and food drive on April 8th and 9th to help hunger in the east Knox county area through donations to the Western Heights Baptist Center.

Every Spring, for the past five years, City View Baptist Church Student Ministries hosts a 30-hour famine the week before Easter.

The famine is a period of time where all participants go without food for 30 hours. In the cases where participants have medical conditions that prohibit them from going without food, they give up something else. These sacrifices have included going without technology or social media and sleeping comforts such as a pillows, blankets, and mattresses.

The church extends an invitation to all participants and other members of the church to bring in donations of clothing, non-perishable food, and hygiene products. This collection process starts a month prior to the famine, and carries through till the delivery day two weeks after the famine.

They call the famine 30 for 30, this is because every year they have a goal to get at least 30 people to participate. Most participants are high school and college age students.

30 for 30 includes some activities to take the participants’ mind off of the hunger for the 30 hours. However, the major events of this famine are a food drive that takes place at several Knoxville area grocery stores and the church’s Palm Sunday pancake breakfast.

The food drive had locations set up at the Food Cities on Chapman Highway, Broadway, and Loves Creek; as well as a group at the Kroger in Fountain City and the Dollar Tree on Washington Pike.

Kristi Hilliard (left) and Catalina Black (middle) were some of the many students Saturday approaching incoming grocery shoppers, asking for donations and explaining where all of the proceeds go to.

By the end of the drive on Saturday, the students and adult leaders at the five locations brought in a total of 2,770 canned food and hygiene items.

The morning of Palm Sunday, the participants of the famine cook and serve the food to the rest of the church. Which is followed by all involved cleaning up the kitchen and fellowship hall where the food was served.

Over the duration of the Palm Sunday pancake breakfast, nearly 80 people from the congregation of more than 100 where in attendance and being served by the students.

The questions people have at the forefront of all of this are, “Why do they do this?” and “What does going without food for 30 hours do to benefit the community?”

Participants are doing this to raise awareness of the rarely known hunger epidemic occurring in Knoxville and throughout the state of Tennessee. The donations received during their collection period all go to the Western Heights Baptist Center in northern Knoxville. defines food insecurity as, “The state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.”

Western Heights Baptist Center is located in the Western Heights Apartment Complex, one of the lower income communities in Knoxville. The Baptist Center’s webpage states that their goal is, “to meet the needs of all people — physical needs and most importantly, spiritual needs…”

The afternoon of Wednesday April 26th participants of the famine gathered together once again to load, transport, and unload all of the goods gathered during the famine at the Western Heights Baptist Center.

Wednesday, April 26th, City View Student Ministries and a handful of adult church members delivered a total of 4,777 items to the Baptist Center. That afternoon, the group loaded 4,777 items into three pickup trucks to transport all of the canned goods, clothes, and hygiene items.

Shannon Washam, Director of the Baptist center, says that they provide, “groceries for 22,000 people each year. It is a large work that is easily accomplished because of the partnership we have in this city with the godly concerned people like City View.”

Each year the Baptist Center relies heavily on outside donations, and several staff members said that the donations gathered from 30 for 30 have greatly decreased the threat of not having enough resources to meet the needs of the people they help.