This past Sunday I couldn’t get the 10cc song, Things We Do For Love, out of my head. (I know. I’m dating myself.) That’s because of this line in the song, Like walking in the rain and the snow, and that is what we were doing, walking in the rain and the snow to help those who were hungry. My sons and I participated in the inaugural John H. Ware IV Memorial Hunger Help Walk to benefit 4 local organizations that help combat the problem of hunger in our area. In past years this walk has been part of the CROP Hunger Walk, sponsored by World Church Service. The local organizers in my town decided to break with that organization and sponsor the walk on their own for two reasons. First, the local entities receiving the funds raised by this walk did not see those funds for several months, often almost a year after the walk. Secondly, only 25% of the funds raised in our town came back to the local organizations. The remaining dollars stayed with the World Church Service, presumably to cover administrative costs and assist with efforts abroad to combat hunger.
Over 150 people turned out in spite of a dramatic dip in temperatures to participate in the walk, which included 3 different loop options–a 1 mile, 5K or 10K walk/run. Participants included people of all ages. I was especially pleased to see a large group of teenagers, many of whom were walking in support of a local youth organization that was receiving a portion of the money raised by the walk. The chilly wind and clouds did not seem to dampen spirits and as we started off, we were greeted with a brief snow shower, followed by a couple of light showers later in the walk. The inclement weather only seemed to add to the sense of camaraderie among the walkers.
I applaud these local organizers for deciding to take on the sponsorship and organization of this walk and keep the funds raised in the community. At the opening ceremonies when this change was discussed, those gathered vocalized their approval as well. Unless people are making a donation to a specific disaster or tragedy relief effort, most people want their donations to stay in the local community. Furthermore, I think this walk helps to make people, who may not be, aware that a hunger problem does exist in their community and that there are resources within that community trying to assist those in need. When I talk to folks about my endeavors and volunteering in the local food pantries, I have been surprised how often the response I receive is one of astonishment that we have food pantries in town. I hope this new model works for the organizers and future years walks will be able to operate in the same manner, with all the proceeds remaining in the local community.