Kids learn what it’s like to feel hungry

LYNNWOOD — For the past 17 years, youth from a small Snohomish County church have been going hungry.

They’re not skipping meals or trying to lose weight and their hunger isn’t caused by a lack of food.

It’s all part of the 30-Hour Famine, an effort sponsored by World Vision, that aims to end hunger by helping young people engage in community-service activities.

The premise is simple: organizers and teens go without food to experience hunger.

For most Snohomish County kids, hunger is not something they feel in their bellies, day after day. Yet hunger is an affliction that spans the globe.

“This year, it hit me harder,” said Colleen Boyer, 15, who was participating in the event for her fourth year. “I was cold and tired all weekend.”

Boyer, of Lynnwood, said going without protein made her see spots in front of her eyes.

“Kids in Africa must be having symptoms worse than that,” she said, a thought that helped her keep her mind off her own hunger. “I’m pretty lucky.”

Boyer said she participates because “I think it’s important for people to know about world hunger. Americans are not the only people in the world and there are a lot of others in the world, especially in Africa, who need our help. We need to help, especially as Christians.”

These numbers and the stories behind them are what have motivated the youth from Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Lynnwood to participate in the 30-Hour Famine year after year.

Boyer along with Karl Bloomberg, 12, Kimberly Sutton, 11, Sean Boyer 12, Gabrielle Benuska, 11, Alanna Sutton, 18, Ben Sutton, 12, and Michelle Sutton, 15, gave up their favorite foods for the weekend, for a purpose.

“They recently completed the 30-hour Famine with the help of youth leader Meggie Lavelle,” said Jayne Bloomberg, deacon of worship for Good Shepherd. Her son, Karl, also participated.

During the event, the eight kids collected 233 pounds of food, said Pastor Kris Boyer. The food will be donated to Lynnwood Food Bank.

“Over the past 13 years, youth from the church have raised over $16,000” participating in the famine project, Bloomberg said.

Reporter Leita Hermanson Crossfield: 425-339-3449 or

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