Missing food - and Megan
The 40 or so young people who gathered at Lake Community Church in Alexandria for a 30-hour famine awareness event last weekend were missing more than food.
They were missing the bright smile and bubbly personality of their 13-year-old friend, Megan Carlson.
Megan died from injuries in a two-vehicle crash that happened on County Road 82 west of Alexandria during a heavy snowfall on February 20.
She was a member of the Lake Community Church youth group, Epic, that meets Wednesday nights at 6:30 and is open to all area youth.
She had planned to be part of the group's 30-hour famine event that raises awareness and funds to fight global hunger through World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization.
For 30 hours, the young people avoided food and participated in activities that gave them insights into world hunger, such as how just $30 can feed one starving child for a whole month.
Through it all, Megan was in their thoughts and prayers.
"People are struggling because we lost her," said Cassie Larkins, an adult leader of the youth group. "It was only about a month before the accident that Maggie gave her life to Christ."
One of Megan's best friends, Roxy Kading of Alexandria, said it helped to have members of the youth group around to cope with the loss and share their memories of Megan.
"She was always very happy and smiling," Kading said of her friend, who was an 8th grader at Discovery Middle School. "She would cheer you up when you were down. She was very energetic."
For many of the young people, not eating food for 30 hours was an eye-opening experience. On a poster board, they summed up their feelings with descriptions like "exhausting," "hard," "awesome," "humbling," and "getting closer to Christ."
With Megan not there, the young people were also grappling with grief and they leaned on each other to get through it.
"I think they learned how important it is to share their faith with each other," said Larkins.
"Because your life can be gone in an instant," Kading added.
FUND SET UP TO HELP FAMILY
A fund has been established to help the Megan Carlson family.
Megan's mother, Kristy, a driver in the crash, was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center with serious injuries to her neck and pelvis. She will be in a wheelchair for six to eight weeks, according to friends of the family.
Megan's father, Todd Carlson, is a volunteer with the Garfield First Responders.
All donations, no matter the size, would be appreciated to help with funeral and medical expenses, according to the fund organizers.
Donations will be accepted at any of the four BlackRidgeBank locations in Alexandria, Carlos and Miltona.
Please make checks payable to Todd Carlson, and write, "Megan Carlson Memorial Fund" on the memo line.
FUNERAL IS FRIDAY
Funeral services for Megan Carlson are set for this Friday at 1 p.m. at Lake Community Church in Alexandria. Visitation will be held on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Anderson Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday.