Hunger is a worldwide problem that is far from being adequately addressed.
Every day, 16,000 children throughout the world die from hunger-related causes, one child every five seconds.
The issue of hunger afflicts many Americans as well. According to the Food Research and Action Center, "if all 36 million Americans with food insecurity stood in line at a food pantry in New York City, the line would stretch to Los Angeles and back. Twice. More than one in five children in the U.S. is at risk of hunger every day."
The increased need for food assistance by local area residents has also placed greater demands on the East Lincoln Christian Ministry food pantry.
For these reasons and more, Church World Service, an interdenominational organization, sponsors the annual CROP Walk throughout the United States. The acronym CROP, which stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty, reflects the ideal that the solution to hunger is best overcome at the community level.
This year's CROP walk in the East Lincoln region, sponsored by East Lincoln Christian Ministry, will be held, rain or shine, Oct. 23. Registration will be held by the arbor at Rock Springs Campground.
Refreshments, including water and apples donated by Food Lion and Route 16 Produce, will be available along the walk.
"Most people on the walk go away feeling good about having participated in a worthwhile cause, to help folks in our area as well as in other parts of the world," said area coordinator Bud Hawkins, 66, a Denver resident.
He said that 25 percent of the money raised stays in the local community to address the needs of local residents.
The goal for this year's walk is $150 for each of more than 200 walkers, although interested individuals are encouraged to join the walk, even if they have not raised money through pledges in advance. You can walk just to show your support.
Hawkins and his wife, Jean, are longtime members of St. Peter by the Lake Episcopal Church in Westport. "Jean and I have participated in the CROP Walk in Connecticut and Ohio for years, and I was the coordinator for St. Peter's, so becoming the coordinator for East Lincoln five years ago was a calling and an opportunity I couldn't pass up."
"I'm optimistically pretty excited about this year's walk," he says. "We have the support of several local churches, as well as East Lincoln and North Lincoln High School Interact Clubs, and the Lincoln Charter High School student council."
"This is a great way to get young people involved in organizing and supporting worthwhile causes. It's a way of grooming today's youth to become the leaders of tomorrow who will find ways to confront world problems. We hope to plant the seeds of the importance of helping the less fortunate, so when today's youth are adults, they will be in a position to continue to help."