By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A cardboard village will rise in the Morinville Community Centre in a couple weeks, humble accommodations for up to 60 local youth taking part in a 30-Hour Famine event fundraiser for World Vision. The program begins Apr. 11 with students commencing their famine. Youth will then gather at the cultural centre on the evening of Apr. 12 and spend the night in the facility before being given a cold breakfast and sent on their way Saturday morning. Participants will accept pledges for their individual efforts.
Kelsie Sharun, Morinville’s youth worker, said the students could select where they want their fasting funds to go. She has selected West Africa on behalf of the group. “It’s a good cause,” she said of the 30-Hour Famine. “I participated in it when I was younger and it’s a really good experience because it just opens the doors for all sorts of conversations that you may not be comfortable having at school or with parents on social issues. But it brings it back to [the fact] there are people in Morinville that are hungry, people in Alberta that are hungry. What can we do to help these people?” Morinville Food Bank donations will be accepted during the event to help the hungry.
While some participants will go hungry for 30 hours, youth will have the option of giving up food or giving up all electronics during the program. The choice is an easy one for many. “Most kids are saying they can’t give up their cell phones,” Sharun said. “They’d rather give up food than their phone, which is interesting.”
Most of the cultural centre is reserved Friday and Saturday for the event, giving youth unfettered access to the facility so they can turn it into a figurative village. “We have lots of different environments to hang out in,” Sharun said, adding the main hall and stage, foyer and one meeting room has been set aside for the program. “There may be an option for hide-and-go-seek in the dark or stuff like that. I kind of want to use this building as a commodity because it is not very often that they get to come in here kind of informally.”
The big part of the event will be building the cardboard village. Sharun said participants will build their own accommodations. “We’ll have a competition for biggest house, smallest house – most innovative use of materials,” she said, explaining the cardboard village is a reflection on the humble and often makeshift living conditions in other parts of the world. “I’m trying to engage youth at the local level but also at the national and international level as well. The decisions they make today and actions they do will affect them tomorrow. So it’s important to create the awareness of how connected we all are within this community and within the broader sense. This event gives the participants an opportunity to lead by example, to show we can sacrifice our food in the best interests of raising money for a good cause.”
The Town is hoping the community will assist in one of three ways. They are accepting donations of cardboard for the cardboard village, which may be dropped off at the Youth Centre during operation hours. They are also accepting pledge donations for the 30-Hour Famine. Additionally, there is a need for five adult volunteers in order to accommodate 60 youth in the program.
“It’s in support of a great cause and a great way to pull the community together,” Sharun said, adding the group has a fundraising goal of $1,000.
The program is open to youth aged 12 to 17. For more information call Kelsie Sharun at 780-939-7874.