MARIETTA - More than 130 people hiked Marietta's River Trail to help fight hunger locally and worldwide during a Crop Hunger Walk Sunday afternoon.
Sponsored by Church World Service, the annual event brings local churches, organizations and individuals together to raise money and community awareness in an effort to help feed and provide drinking water for people in need in the U.S. and abroad.
Sara Lamb, with First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta, helped coordinate Sunday's event.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Participants in Sunday’s local Crop Walk for World Hunger are shown on Marietta’s River Trail near the Harmar Railroad Bridge. The annual event raises awareness and funds to help fight hunger locally and worldwide.
"It's an ecumenical, multi-church and community event where we can all come together to help local families as well as those around the world who don't have enough food or water," she said.
Lamb noted quite a bit more participation in Sunday's Crop Walk, compared to last year when the event brought together 61 walkers and netted just over $4,100 to fight hunger.
"But the Crop Walk had not been held for a couple of years before that," she said. "We're trying to build participation again, and we hope to raise more this year and in coming years."
Totals weren't immediately available from Sunday's walk, but some past events have garnered up to $10,000.
Sunday's walk was kicked off with dance entertainment provided by Marietta College's Entity Step Team. Several students also participated in the walk, according to Amanda Dever, coordinator for the MC Office of Civic Engagement.
"This is part of a continuation of our Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week that was held a couple of weeks ago," she said. "We encouraged students at that time to take part in this Crop Walk."
Among Sunday's walkers were 18 from Marietta's First Presbyterian Church.
"We're walking to make others aware that there are people in this world who have to walk far for their food and water," said church parishioner Peggy Malcomb.
Sandia Sommer, with St. Luke's Episcopal Church, said there were at least eight members participating in the Crop Walk. She noted members from St. Luke's Lutheran Church were also taking part.
"This not only helps fight world hunger, but 25 percent of the proceeds from today's walk will also go to our Marietta Community Food Pantry," Sommer said.
Fellow St. Luke's Episcopal member Hazel Boettcher said the event seems to be growing.
"There are a lot more people here this year," she said. "But last year it was raining and quite humid."
Sunday's weather was nearly picture-perfect, sunny and warm with a steady breeze to help keep the walkers comfortable as they trekked along Marietta's River Trail from the corner of Third and Ohio streets to Indian Acres Park and back.
One local business that took part in the Crop Walk was Chase Bank with about 14 walkers.
"And some of them came from Warsaw, Ohio," said Dawn Wilson, branch manager for the Chase Bank in downtown Marietta.
"It's a two-hour drive, but our branch banks like to help support each other in events like this," said Sue McCurdy, assistant banking center manager from the Warsaw facility.
Wilson, who also attends First Unitarian Universalist church in Marietta, said Lamb had told her about the walk earlier this spring.
"She suggested we put a team together, so I invited the entire district, hoping people from all of our branches will participate," Wilson said.
According to the organization's website, Church World Service is a cooperative ministry founded in 1946 consisting of 37 Christian communions working together to eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice among the world's most vulnerable people.