COLUMBIA — Columbia residents have an opportunity to help fight hunger overseas as well as in their own community. It’s as simple as walking.
At an informational meeting last week at the First Presbyterian Church, organizers of the Columbia CROP Hunger Walk recruited support from the city's faith communities.
Instead of a registration fee, CROP Walk organizer are asking participants to donate the following items: toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, peanut butter, jelly, sugar, coffee, creamer, toothbrushes, toothpaste, travel-size bottles of shampoo and conditioner, razors, shaving cream, small bars of soap, bath towels and other items that might be needed by persons who do not have access to showers.
The CROP Walk — CROP is an acronym for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty — is an annual event sponsored by the Church World Service. It raises money to help provide food and supplies to developing countries.
Columbia resident Terri Williams spoke at the rally. She recently went with Church World Services to Kenya to help distribute supplies and see firsthand the services CWS was providing. With the current drought in Kenya, CWS is focused on helping villagers obtain potable water close to their homes.
“We walk because they walk,” Williams said.
Participating in the CROP Hunger Walk also will help hunger relief organizations in Columbia. A quarter of the money raised will be divided equally between Loaves and Fishes and the Russell Chapel Food Pantry.
Both are local soup kitchens in need of money to stay in service. The Russell Chapel Food Pantry is also hoping to use the money to purchase a freezer for food storage.
In order to help the Interfaith Day Center, which serves the homeless community of Columbia, organizers are asking for donations of personal hygiene products or cleaning products instead of a registration fee.
The CROP Walk will be held on Oct. 4. Registration will begin at 1:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church located at 16 Hitt St. The walk will begin at 2 p.m.
Recruitment coordinator Cleo Kottwitz said participants can choose to walk either one mile or three miles according to their abilities. Sponsors are asked to pledge a set amount and present it at the time of the pledge.
In 2007, the CROP Walk raised just less than $8,000. Last year it more than doubled that amount, raising a little more than $18,000. Kottwitz said this year the organizers are hoping to raise $25,000.
Kottwitz said they have had a variety of groups participate in the past, including members of the Hindu, Islamic and Greek Orthodox faith communities. Kottwitz added that he had sent information to organizations other than religious ones.
Scouts, schools, campus ministries and the Greek community are also encouraged to participate. Anyone who can get a group together is welcome to participate.
For more information or to get walker resources contact Brad Boyd-Kennedy at 445-7931 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.