Church raises $150,000 for HBCUs through fasting

Church raises $150,000 for HBCUs through fasting

FILE PHOTO: Dozens of seniors at Howard University had their student debt paid by a Virginia church.

A Virginia church is making sure college students at Howard University don’t have to worry about their student debt.

Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, paid the school debts of 34 students at the HBCU, The Washington Post reported.

Some of the full-time students chosen to get the windfall owed as little as $100, others owed thousands of dollars

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In total, the church members paid $100,000 to clean the financial slate of university seniors, "Good Morning America" reported.

The congregation also gave $50,000 to Bennett College, the Post reported.

But how was a church able to raise so much money and why?

About 4,000 church members participated in a 30-day fast of not only food but social media and money. They were asked to not spend anything extra, and then donate the money saved to a worthy cause, the Post reported.

The Rev. Marc Lavarin had the idea of donating to Howard University during a prayer.

"I thought, 'What better way to celebrate Black History Month than investing in the young, black heroes of HBCUs?'" Lavarin told The Washington Post.

Church members thought they would raise $25,000, but by the end of the month, they had $150,000, "Good Morning America" reported.

The church has had a long connection with HBCUs. About 60 percent of members attended one of the country’s historic black colleges and universities and the church holds an annual event for prospective HBCU students.

On Jan. 31, the students were told about their award via an email from the financial aid office about a "special financial aid opportunity," the Post reported.

When they reported to the Interdisciplinary Research Building, the ministers from Alfred Street Baptist were there with the university’s financial aid staff to give the seniors the good news.

About 95 percent of students at Howard University get financial aid to pay the $24,966 annual undergraduate tuition, according to the Post.