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Moving 'mad cow' part of church fundraiser

Evelyn Knudson of Wadena was very happy to be struck with "mad cow disease" last Thursday night so she could support local youth in their effort to raise money for hungry children.

A "mad cow disease" is spreading around town courtesy of the youth group at the Wadena Christian & Missionary Alliance Church. This "disease" isn't harmful, though. It's part a multi-church effort to feed hungry children around the world.

Local youth groups are holding a 30-hour "famine" May 1-2 and constructing a cardboard village in a local park to raise money for World Vision, an international Christian relief organization.

The wooden cows placed in yards around town are part of the CMA's fundraising effort, said Jenny Steinkopf, a volunteer youth worker at the CMA. Those struck with "mad cow disease" can donate $10 to get the cow removed from their yard, an additional $5 to send it to another yard and $15 to get "vaccinated" against having any cows return to their yard.

Most people have donated the entire $30, Steinkopf said. That amount feeds one child for a month through World Vision. The church's goal is to feed 16 children for a year, she said.

"This is a tremendous thing that they're doing," said Evelyn Knudson, whose Wadena home was struck with "mad cow disease" last Thursday night. Feeding hungry children is a great cause, she said.

Youth group member Taylor Garcia constructed the three cows the CMA has traveling around Wadena, Steinkopf said. The youth group transports the cows about once a day.

People have responded well to the cows, she said.

"Everyone's been super great," she said.

The "mad cow disease" is spreading throughout Wadena from April 1 to May 1. The church will also conduct a food drive, Steinkopf said.

Other local churches participating in the 30-hour famine include the Wadena Assemblies of God, Wadena Evangelical, Verndale Christian & Missionary Alliance and Pine River Riverview Church. Kids and youth leaders will begin their fast at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 1. The weekend activities begin at 4 p.m. at Wadena Evangelical, Steinkopf said. There will be a free concert featuring four bands. Students will spend the night in a cardboard village at Burlington Northern Park. And Saturday will be a service day with kids cleaning highways and parks. The fast ends at 3 p.m. on Saturday, she said.

The other churches are doing their own fundraisers, Steinkopf said.

"It's a good cause," she said.