COLUMBIA — Twelve-year-old Melanie Turner, her sister and her mom drove around their neighborhood, pulling together $48 in donations to fight hunger.
Sunday, the three participated in their second Crop Walk, walking through the streets of downtown Columbia with 160 others to raise money for and awareness of global hunger.
“Our legs hurt,” she said afterward.
Crop Walk, which stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty, is an initiative of Church World Service and is a nationwide event. Earlier this year, Mayor Bob McDavid declared Oct. 3 as Columbia Crop Hunger Walk Day.
The diverse crowd ranged from children to senior citizens and represented various Columbia organizations, most of which were churches.
Edith Prince, director of Russell Chapel Food Pantry, said it was very encouraging to see so many people taking part in this year’s walk. In the past, Crop Walk funds helped Russell Chapel purchase a new refrigerator for the food pantry.
Olivet Christian Church raised $650 for the walk and had 25 members participate.
Missouri United Methodist Church raised $1,000 and had about 20 walkers.
“It’s definitely doing a job of raising awareness,” Mike Yoakum, a 22-year-old member of the United Methodist Church’s youth group, said.
New Horizons Methodist Church brought its youth group to do the walking while its older members raised money. The Crop Walk is one event the church "actively participates in every year," youth director Cassie O’Brien said.
This year’s walk saw an increase in student organization participation, walk organizers said.
The pledge class from Beta Sigma Psi fraternity also participated. Fraternity members said that of all the projects they could have participated in, Crop Walk was the most beneficial to the community.
Some students from Columbia College also participated in the walk.