Vinland CROP Walk to benefit hunger relief
Diane Massey will walk because they walk.
In this case, 'they' are the hungry both in Eudora and worldwide.
Massey is a local organizer of the annual Southern Douglas County Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty Hunger Walk. Registration for the walk begins at 1 p.m. and the charity walk will begin 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Vinland Elementary School, 702 E. 1747 Rd.
The Southern Douglas County walk is open to participants in Baldwin, Eudora, Gardner-Edgerton and Wellsville.
Participants have the option of taking part in either a 5-kilometer or a 10-kilometer walk, Massey said.
"We always have people at the corner with water, and we have someone driving the course to make sure everyone is OK," Massey said.
Donors either give a set amount or ask to be sponsored, Massey said.
This year, the group hopes to raise at least $8,000 for the Church World Service Organization. Last year, more than 100 local walkers helped the CROP Hunger Walk bring in more than $6,000.
The organization supplies funds to local food pantries, including the Eudora Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry at St. Paul United Church of Christ, and to foreign countries. About 25 percent of the funds come back to benefit local pantries, Massey said.
"Personally, I think that's a win-win," Massey said. "Why not if you can help both areas?"
Each year, the organization picks a theme country for the walk, Massey said.
This year, the organization chose Guatemala.
"I think it's close to some people in our congregation because we have had people go to Guatemala on mission trips," Massey said. Massey is a member of the Eudora United Methodist Church.
Some walkers on the route will wear, "We Walk Because They Walk" T-shirts.
The phrase is a reference to those starving in less-developed countries, Massey said.
"They have to walk, and they are carrying large buckets of water on their head, or food or lumber, and they often have to walk long distances just to get water and food," Massey said.
Proceeds from the walks help supply both food and education. In Guatemala, CROP money has helped indigenous people learn how to grow food for their families, build greenhouses and work with irrigation.
The organization also has given money to Americans who were involved in natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
Massey has taken part in the CROP Hunger Walk for almost a decade. She has organized it locally for about seven years, she said.
"It's always a learning experience, because it is amazing how much hunger there is even in our own community with all of our food pantries," Massey said. "It seems they are always in need."
For more information about the Southern Douglas County CROP Hunger Walk, call Massey at 542-3110 or visit the Web site www.churchworldservice.org.