The Alpine Mountaineer

The Alpine Mountaineer: Creating that First Footprint in the Sand

This article was originally published in The Alpine Mountaineer February 6, 2020 and was written by Mary-Justine Lanyon (Editor).

When Rim High freshman Neva Hidajat woke up late one morning, she did not have time to eat breakfast or pack a lunch. She was sitting in Spanish class, feeling very hungry, and started to think how terrible global hunger is.

“What I experienced was just a small bit of what people around the world experience,” Neva said. “I’m very fortunate to have a good life here.”

Because she has always wanted to try to help people, Neva started researching different nonprofits. Action Against Hunger caught her eye as it has a four-star rating on Charity Finder. The charity was founded in France in 1979.

“I was inspired by their purpose,” Neva said. “Not only to help people fight hunger but help people with sustainable methods. It’s not a one-time deal.”

In Ethiopia, Neva discovered, Action Against Hunger is teaching people how to grow food with hydroponics. “Even if the soil is not prime for growing food, they can still do it,” she said.

And so, Neva became part of Action Against Hunger’s Team45, setting a goal of raising $3,000 to combat hunger.

But she was not content with just that goal. Neva pledged to play her violin for a community group for every $100 donated to her fundraiser.

She started playing the violin about five years ago and is part of the MountainTop Strings. This past summer, she traveled to Italy with the group and will be playing on a cruise ship traveling the
Pacific coast in October.

When she performs as part of her fundraiser, Neva plays for about 30 minutes.

She recently performed for the residents of the Skilled Nursing Facility at Mountains Community Hospital. She has also played for Linda Valley Care in Redlands.

“I love performing,” Neva said. “I’m passionate about music and playing the violin. I wanted to spread the joy of music as well as raise money for Action Against Hunger.”

When she is not performing, studying or raising money, Neva is teaching her two young violin students, both second-graders.

“They are always excited when they come to their lessons,” Neva said. “I’m teaching them the basics so they can participate in the strings program when they get to fourth grade.”

Neva’s campaign has already raised more than $1,200 of her $3,000 goal.

“I’m doing a small thing but it can make a difference,” she said. “I’d like to get other people thinking about what they can do. It’s that first footprint in the sand.”

To donate to Action Against Hunger through Neva’s campaign, visit

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