Intersection, Hunger Days donate effort, time to community

by Andrew Johnson

As windchills dipped below zero for the first time this winter, two bundled masses huddled around a fire Monday night at the Grace University Lutheran Church in Stadium Village.
The two cold and hungry souls ate their last meal at noon and would not eat again until noon the next day.
Throughout the next 24 hours, each pair’s shift would end and another pair would take their place.
But, different from other urban scenes, these were students who — while trying to stay warm — were collecting canned food for others who went hungry every day. The food would later be donated to a local food shelf, Second Harvest.
The annual Hunger Days event was sponsored by Intersection, a cross-faith University student group.
The volunteers worked for two days, Monday and Tuesday, to help ensure fewer people are cold and hungry this Minnesota winter.
Aside from the donation aspect, group member Erica Von Haaran called Monday’s event “a prayer of remembrance for those who don’t have as much as we have.”
Hunger Days is in its fourth year, organized by the group’s 16 volunteers, who consider it their biggest fall project. The volunteers are representatives of individual ministries in the immediate University area.
“It’s cold right now in Minnesota. The idea is to care for all people … including people who need some help now,” said Jennifer Slagle, a junior math major.
Her partner at the fire, junior Dave Peck, agreed.
“Since we have this organization, we have the ability to do things like this,” he said.
The Second Harvest food shelf is about one mile beyond Stadium Village and works to help improve the lives of welfare and low-income families with donated food. All donated checks collected from sponsors are made out to the food shelf.
Before and after the symbolic group fasting, group members ate their two bookend meals together at the Stadium Village Lutheran Church.
An extension of the larger Interfaith Campus Coalition, the campus group Intersection is comprised of a diverse cross section of the university’s religious community — not limited to a Christian majority. Hillel, the Jewish student group, is part of Intersection, and Peck and Slagle said non-Christians are welcomed and encouraged to join the group.
Both said the group is looking to expand, while emphasizing the group’s mission is not to convert those believing in other religions.
“Our group has all different kinds of faith. … We’re interested in finding out why all worship the way they do,” Peck said.
“We have the same mission and goals,” she added. “The goal is really to learn about each other’s faiths, have a chance to talk, and help the community.”

Andrew Johnson welcomes comments at [email protected]