Lake Norman & Mooresville

Denver CROP Walk to be held Oct. 5

East Lincoln Christian Ministry in Denver, an organization that provides food and other assistance to the neediest of East Lincoln’s citizens, faces greater needs for help than ever in its 25-year existence, leaders of the organization say.

“Currently, we are providing food assistance for 250 families a month,” said ministry president Laura Moore. “These are people who would not have enough to eat themselves or to feed their children without help from others.”

That local picture of poverty is a reflection of the national hunger problem. 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 problem in undeveloped and developing nations is even worse. According to Church World Service, a multi-denominational organization, 16,000 children die from malnutrition and hunger every day – one child every five seconds.

To help feed the hungry, the annual East Lincoln Area Annual CROP Hunger Walk will be held Oct. 5 in Denver. The walk is held to raise money and awareness to fight the problem of hunger and poverty in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Sponsored locally by East Lincoln Christian Ministry, the walk, one of thousands that take place in cities and towns across the country, is sponsored nationwide by CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty), a subsidiary of Church World Service. “This has been an annual event in the East Lincoln area for over 20 years,” said organizer Bud Hawkins, “and it is supported well by both local churches and school groups.”

Last year, the walk raised $6,500. The group hopes at least 200 walkers will turn out this year. Twenty-five percent of the money raised will stay in the community to help with local needs.

Hawkins and his wife, Jean, long-time members of St. Peter by-the-Lake Episcopal Church in Westport, have coordinated the event for the past eight years.

“Jean and I had participated in the CROP Walk in Connecticut and Ohio for years, so becoming the coordinator for East Lincoln was a calling and an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” he said.

“Many families in poverty-stricken areas of the world go to bed at night not knowing whether they will be able to feed their families the next day,” Hawkins said.

“We want to propagate the idea of giving back to others, to plant the seed in the minds and hearts of our youth that it is vital to get involved in helping others who are less fortunate than they.”

Walkers are encouraged to obtain pledges for the event, but it is not a requirement. Participants can walk simply to show their support for the cause.

“We’ve had young children walking with their grandparents, and parents walking with babies in strollers or on their back,” Jean Hawkins said.