ESCANABA - This coming Sunday, Oct. 7 people of all ages from several local churches and organizations will join together in walking, running, pushing strollers or rollerblading for 5 kilometers (3 miles) along the streets of Escanaba and through Ludington Park to raise money to fight hunger in our local area, across the nation and around the world.
Each year, it seems there are more people in need - here, in Delta County, because of the economic struggles we face, and around the world, due to drought, disaster, war, political upheaval and chronic poverty.
In 1992, when we held our first ecumenical CROP Walk in Escanaba few of us dreamed that two decades later we would have raised a total of nearly $70,000.
Since 2001, our little walk has raised an average of $100 per registered walker, with 25 percent of the total funds raised coming right back to the food pantries of the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society, Community Action Agency and recently, the Voices for Youth program.
And yet, hunger persists, here and elsewhere.
All spring and summer, our local food pantries have struggled to meet the needs of those who are hungry. Many times their shelves have been nearly bare.
Because the needs are so great, we have set an ambitious goal for our 2012 CROP Walk.
We hope to have 100 walkers join us in raising $10,000.
If we meet our goals, an anonymous Michigan donor will give us an additional $500.
The problem of hunger isn't just something we have here in the Upper Peninsula.
It's a global problem, touching more than two billion people worldwide.
30,000 children around the globe die each day of hunger and hunger related disease...That's one every 3 seconds.
20 percent of the world's population (about 1 billion people) lives on only about $1 per day. For comparison, the average U.S. wage earner (adjusted down due to the recession) lives on nearly 100 times that amount equal to about $91 per day. Yet, we all know that there are some right here who fall below that average. Poverty is the main cause of hunger, here and abroad.
The 2012 Escanaba Area CROP Walk/ Fun Run begins and ends at First United Methodist Church, 302 S. 6th St., Escanaba. Registration is at 12:30 p.m. The Walk/Run begins at 1 p.m. There is a 3 mile (5km) route and a shorter, 1 mile loop.
If you can't join us, please consider making a donation to our Escanaba Area CROP Walk on line at: the website www.cropwalkonline.org. Enter Escanaba's zip code (49829) and make a donation to a walker or a team. If you really want to make an impact, invite your friends on Facebook or send an e-mail to your contacts, with the link above, asking them to contribute.
Many CROP Walks around the US have raised thousands of dollars using this simple way of communicating.
You can also write a check to: "CWS-CROP" and send it to: Pat Rudden, CROP Treasurer, c/o Northern Michigan Bank, 723 Ludington St, Escanaba, MI 49829. All donations are tax deductible.
All of the overhead costs of our local CROP Walk are donated. This year, a part of our advertising on the radio is being sponsored by Anytime Fitness, and other ads are donated as public service announcements. We want to thank in advance all of those who donate to sponsor walkers, donate on line, help us advertise, and especially those who walk or run with us. With your help, we can surpass our goals.
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Dan Young is,route coordinator of the Escanaba Area CROP Walk.