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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

A Taste Of Hunger Idaho, Spokane Teenagers Do Community Service, Fast For 30 Hours

Cassandra Shaw, 11, was the smallest member of the assembly line. But she worked just as fast as the older teens in the World Vision 30-Hour Famine.

Fifteen teens carted bags of flour, lentils, beans and other dry goods through the Union Gospel Mission Saturday morning, cleaning out the pantry.

“I have a mouse problem,” said Bob Eller, who runs the Spokane mission’s kitchen.

Why did Cassandra give up her Saturday?

“I thought it would be fun, helping other people,” she said, before she lined up for another load.

By the end of the morning, the mouse house was no more, and the teens had moved on to serving lunch for the mission’s guests.

All of that, on empty stomachs and with little sleep.

“At least we get all the sniffs we want,” said group leader Scott Wood, wafting the kitchen smells toward his nose.

The chance to learn about hunger first-hand drew 167 teens to the World Vision 30-Hour Famine, coordinated by Grace Baptist Church in Spokane. The teens represented 11 churches.

Another 70 teens from North Idaho did their own 30-Hour Famine, based at Friends Church in Hayden Lake.

“We hope the kids arrive at their own conclusions about community service,” said Bill Cody of Vinyard Christian Fellowship in Coeur d’Alene.

Projects for the North Idaho teens were to include community service work and a video scavenger hunt, Cody said. The idea was to videotape kids searching through a Dumpster, in hopes of creating a meal.

“We’re not going to actually eat it,” Cody said. “But you could make a meal for a king out of what we normally throw away.”

The fasting began Friday at 1 p.m.

The Spokane teens gathered at Grace Baptist that evening for games, music, prayer and discussion about world hunger. Only juice and gum were allowed for the next 30 hours. Organizer Larry Harpster said the evening included a memorial service for all the children who died, worldwide, in the hours since the fast began.

Some kids stayed up right through the night. By the next morning, some were groggy.

“I fell asleep during prayers. And on the way over here this morning,” admitted Cassie Whiteman, 11. “I didn’t do it on purpose.”

One group of teens made about 160 sandwiches, others collected food and blankets or worked at the Spokane Food bank.

Others repainted the wall near the Monroe Street Bridge - to say 30-Hour Famine - in yellow and blue.

Dan Nickerson, youth pastor at Springdale Community Church, went with one group to Spokane’s downtrodden First Avenue to hand out sandwiches. He and organizer Martha Simpson agreed that the hands-on work was a great way to learn.

“You can see all the numbers in the world, all the videos in the world …,” said Simpson.

“But when you take them down on their own streets - that’s when it really hits them,” Nickerson said.

By the end of the day, the Spokane group had raised more than $3,320 for World Vision and filled a room at Grace Baptist with food and diapers for local charities.

“It’s been an incredibly inspiring, awakening time for the youth,” said Harpster.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos (1 Color)

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