Hunger Walk to raise funds for food bank

PARKERSBURG – Tom Knopp, director of the Good Samaritan Center in Kenova, W.Va., has pledged to walk 25 miles in each county in West Virginia to raise money for two West Virginia Food Banks. He will be in Wood County April 25.

Knopp will be speaking from the steps of the Wood County Courthouse at 8 a.m. April 25 to kick off his walk in Wood County.

“We are asking residents, church groups, organizations to walk a mile with Tom, collect sponsorships, donate, and offer prayers. His goal is to raise $10,000 in each county, and we want to do our part here in Wood County,” said Linda Crocker, Parish Ministries coordinator with Good Shepherd Church.

Sponsor signups sheets are available from Crocker by calling 304-210-5591 or 304-428-1525, extension 12.

“Funds raised through the event here will go to the Mountaineer Food Bank, which distributes USDA foods. All the food pantries get them for free, and sometimes they provide a truckload of food that is distributed at little cost. The food bank has operating costs that need covered. It costs them thousands of dollars just for fuel. Once a month they go to each county delivering the food so we don’t have to get it, and they need help with overhead expenses,” Crocker said.

Crocker said the Salvation Army, Children’s Home Society, River City Runners and Walkers, area churches and organizations plan to attend, and local dignitaries have been invited to attend.

“As vice president of the Wood County Emergency Food Co-op and administrator of the Food Pantry at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church on Charles Street, I see the need in our community as well as the great benefit we get from Mountaineer Food Bank,” Crocker said.

The plan for next Thursday is to walk around Parkersburg’s historic district, City Park, up Grand Central Avenue in Vienna and through Williamstown.

Direct contributions can be made to the Mountaineer Area Food Bank, 484 Enterprise Drive, Gassaway, W.Va. 26624, put “Hunger Walk -Wood County” in the memo line.

“I’ve seen so many people in our state who can’t afford to feed their families. We urgently need your help to prevent children from going hungry,” Knopp said, noting high unemployment in the state has forced a large number of West Virginians to ask for help to feed their families. “Loss of jobs has also reduced contributions to the nonprofit food banks. Local food pantries are dependent on the food banks which are operating on near emergency levels in some communities.”

On Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., there will be a potluck dinner for Knopp at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 903 Charles St., Parkersburg. Those attending should take food to share. Reservations can be made by calling 304-428-1525, extension 12.

Following his remarks on the courthouse steps, Knopp will begin his walk at 8:30 a.m. Around 9 a.m. the walkers will cross the Fifth Street Bridge into south Parkersburg, at 10 a.m. they will walk at City Park and at 11:30 a.m. the walkers are expected to pass Parkersburg High School. At 12:15 the walkers will head to Grand Central Avenue, Vienna and at 3:15 p.m. pass through Williamstown. The walk will conclude at the West Virginia Welcome Center in Williamstown.

Organizers said funds raised in Wood County will go to the Mountaineer Food Bank, which supplies local food pantries and feeding programs or Wood County Emergency Food Co-op to support cooperative member pantries and feeding programs.