Among the hustle and bustle of Hospitality Night, Lucinda, 11, and Clara Becker, 9, wanted the booth they were supporting to stand out.
So they brought their pet chickens.
"We thought it might be cute to attract attention, and it did," said mom Julia Becker. "A lot of people came up and wanted to [see] them."
The Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave., sponsored the booth Friday night to support Heifer International, a nonprofit that works to end poverty and hunger by providing people in need around the world with an animal that can provide sustenance and an income. The booth brought in $235 and the church members brought the total up to $2,200 for the organization, said church member Katie Coffin, a member of the church's mission outreach committee.
Heifer International has "a great track record," she said. "They give animals to people so they can help themselves."
Chickens, for example, can provide a family with nourishment from the eggs, and with income by selling any extra eggs, Coffin said.
"It's really an empowerment for women," she said.
Laguna Presbyterian Church has supported Heifer International, formerly the Heifer Project, for the past 20 years and has put out a booth for about eight years, Coffin said.
"It's been a part of our mission outreach as [a] church," she said.
For Lucinda, she likes that Heifer International is trying to end world hunger. The booth was a chance to combine two of her loves: chickens and helping people.
"I wanted them to leave [the hospitality night booth] with the fact that some people aren't as lucky as we are," she said. "Some people don't have enough money."
The Becker family started keeping chickens — named Princess, Tiger, Daisy, Rose, Daffodil and more — about a year and a half ago, and they now have eight chickens, including some show chickens.
"They are really easy to take care of," Clara said. "It's fun."
The family decided to get the chickens because Lucinda and Clara like the idea of living on a farm, Becker said.
Clara hasn't given up the idea and has asked Santa for a guinea pig, hamster, horse, bird, dog, cow and goat.
The chickens have allowed Lucinda to start her own small business, Smart Chicks, selling eggs to her neighbors.
The family, though, uses some of the eggs — which are brown, dark chocolate, pink and green — when they make fried or scrambled eggs and omelets, Lucinda said.
The experience has connected the girls with their food source and made them accountable.
"They've really become a lot more responsible," Becker said. "They really think a lot about the chickens. They've learned a lot."
To learn more about Heifer International, go to http://www.heifer.org.