A Heart for Hunger

A young member learns how his actions can support his passion.

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By Kathleen Childers

NORTH BEND, OREGON—What’s the best way to put passion into action? Ian Stevenson is still figuring that out. But if he keeps up his current pace, he’s going to master it soon. Ian’s only 14 years old, yet this high school freshman already has played key roles in five Thrivent Action Teams led by his parents, Calum and Barbara.

Ian’s passion to help end hunger comes naturally. His mother and grandfather have worked to alleviate hunger for a long time. “It seems like it’s in the blood,” Barbara says, “like it was passed along genetically.”

Thrivent Action Teams have made it possible to help in many ways. The Stevensons led their first one when Ian was 10 years old. He had the idea for a family-centered event called Dance Away Hunger at their church, Gloria Dei Lutheran, in nearby Coos Bay. Seed money for the Thrivent Action Team was used to purchase food. A community member taught traditional dances from a half-dozen countries, using recorded music. That event, which was held in the summer, raised $1,200.

The next year, the Stevensons led another Thrivent Action Team for a similar event. This time, they had live music and a dance instructor, and food representing each country was served. Ian and a representative from ELCA World Hunger spoke about hunger issues in those countries.

“We raised more than $1,500 at that event and filled a grocery cart with food donations,” Ian says. “And we learned that holding it in the winter was better for attendance.”

Over the last few years, Ian has played a major role in other Thrivent Action Teams led by Calum and Barbara, including coming up with the idea and finding volunteers to pack and hand out meal bags to homeless people in their community. And Ian has helped for several years with his church’s annual community Thanksgiving meal: He has organized dozens of volunteers to peel hundreds of pounds of potatoes on Thanksgiving morning.

Recently, Ian took his passion on the road. Last year, he and Barbara attended an annual conference in Washington, D.C. on ending hunger. He learned about hunger issues and advocacy, and met with his senators and representatives.