Church will fast for sake of children

Lawmakers invited to join in effort to fund food programs

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To urge the Washington legislature to take action against childhood hunger, the First Congregational Church of Christ is organizing a 24-hour "Fast for the Children" from sundown Feb. 19 to sundown Feb. 20.

Legislators have been invited to join the fast; so far, local Reps. Jim Moeller and Monica Stonier, both Democrats from Vancouver, have signed up, as has Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell.

"Our 24-hour fast is a call to lawmakers for a state budget that feeds our children," said the Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt of First Congregational Church. "Last year, our state cut in half funding for the State Food Assistance Program that helps feed nearly 14,000 children. It is our hope that during the 2013 legislative session lawmakers will fully restore funding to this program, as well as to invest in local hunger programs and in the health and well-being of our children."

Just before the 24-hour fast begins, a "Mac 'n' Cheese Explosion" potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 will be shared with the homeless families sheltered by the Winter Hospitality Overflow project at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 5607 N.E. Gher Road.

Everyone is welcome to participate and bring something to share: macaroni and cheese, salad, bread or cookies. Also benefiting will be people staying at the nearby Share Orchards Inn homeless shelter.

"One in four children in Clark County face hunger, and households with children are the largest demographic group accessing emergency food boxes in Clark County," said Diane McWithey, executive director of Share. "We strongly encourage our lawmakers to make the funding of statewide and local hunger programs a priority, because no child should worry about when they will eat again and no child should ever go to bed hungry."