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Lutheran youths make food drive part of regional event

January 17, 1999|By ANDREA ROWLAND

A group of matching tie-dye clad youths flanked a canned food pyramid Saturday at Hagerstown's Ramada Inn, where the teens are spending a faith-and-fun-filled weekend helping the community.

"It's really cool to spread God's word and help other people," said Julie McMurdo, 15, of Frederick, Md.

The Fellowship of Lutheran Young People added a new twist to its 10th annual Senior High Youth Gathering, urging participants to bring at least two cans of non-perishable foods, said Joan Pugh, of Lutherville, Md., chair of the group's curriculum committee.

The food is being given to Food Resources, Inc. of Hagerstown - a local food bank.

About 210 high school students and 95 adults from throughout Maryland and Delaware came to the three-day event, called "From Fists of Fury to Palms of Peace," said advisor Brent Palochonski, of Towson, Md.

President Katie Brundage, 16, of Frederick, said the group's mission is to "reach out to the Lutheran youth of Delaware and Maryland."

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In addition to participating in small-group discussions about how to live peacefully in a violent world, members decided to help the local food bank, Pugh said.

Food Resources runs a 10,000-square-foot warehouse and provides services to 61 charities and churches throughout the region. In 1998, more than 98,000 people received food from its member agencies in Washington County.

"We, as a church, are not just about serving ourselves, but about serving the community," Pugh said. The group's youth members came up with the idea of having a food drive in conjunction with the annual gathering, she said.

"We were just throwing out ideas," said Carrie Reeve, 18, of Westminster, Md.

"We just want to help out as many people as we can, and we thought this would be a good idea," added Ray Ranker, 16, of Reisterstown, Md.

Member Jodi Moats, of Smithsburg, said Food Resources officials "were really appreciative and grateful."

Palochonski said the group hopes to fill two 55-gallon barrels with food. Those who came, but forgot canned goods, donated cash.

"A hat was passed this morning at our general assembly, and $187.18 was collected," he said.

The Lutheran group hopes to engineer a bigger food drive at its national youth gathering in St. Louis in 2000, Palochonski said. A similar gathering in New Orleans two years ago yielded four tractor-trailers full of food, he said.

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