27-year-old Catherine Daynes from Dunlavin has taken part in Concern FAST a total of seven times now. Year after year, it’s a meaningful experience for the Wicklow woman, reminding her of the abundance of food that so many of us take for granted every day.
“It was suddenly noticeable that food was everywhere!”
Doing FAST has become a bit of a tradition now – one that started back when I was in secondary school. The first time I took it on, I don’t remember finding it too difficult to abstain from food but I was struck by how much food was actually available to me! It was suddenly so noticeable that food was everywhere and how much of it I was offered by other people throughout the 24 hours.
It obviously took willpower to decline food when I was hungry but it really makes you think about what it must be like for those people in the world who are starving without choice.
“The support at work was incredible”
I particularly enjoyed participating in the FAST last year. I work in a café and when I pinned my sponsorship form up at the till, the support was really incredible! I also think it affected more people because they were sitting down to these lovely lunches and thinking about the cause I was fasting for. It made them realise how lucky they were and how much they take food for granted. We don't really give much thought to how readily available food actually is to us every day! This is one reason why I choose to do the FAST year after year, to remind myself of how lucky I am, and to never stop giving to the charities that help those less fortunate than myself.
I think it’s an excellent fundraiser, well organised and it definitely raises awareness.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for sponsorship!”
My experience with fundraising is that if you hang a sponsorship card in a visible place in your work then people will sponsor you. Also, if you are brave and actually approach people, it’s important to properly explain why you're doing it and what the money actually goes towards. People are more inclined to support and sponsor you when they feel a connection to the cause. Don't be afraid to step forward and simply ask friends and family for their support. Even small amounts add up.
You're trying to help people at the end of the day and it's a wonderful cause to get behind.
Getting through FAST day
In terms of getting through the day, I would say to keep yourself busy so that you're not dwelling on your hunger and also make sure to tell your friends, family and colleagues so that they aren't putting too much temptation in your path! Stay hydrated, try to enjoy the experience and keep a positive attitude – it’s only 24 hours in the grand scheme of things. Sadly many people around the world have no choice but to wait that long or even longer until their next meal.
Sign up for FAST
Join thousands of people across Ireland for Concern on Thursday 23 November. Remember, it doesn’t have to be about food – you can challenge yourself to give up anything – your phone, social media, or even just coffee – for 24 hours!