"We are recruiting walkers, and we are trying to raise funds locally," said Cindy Cookson, representative from Second Presbyterian Church's God's Pantry. "Twenty-five percent of all the funds stay here and go to the nine represented pantries."
Shannon Lawson, one of the co-directors of the walk, said the purpose of Sunday's rally was to get the recruiters to become enthusiastic about the job of getting teams together to participate in the walk.
"This is done so they can go back to their churches and organizations and get kids and adults excited about walking in the walk in October," Cookson said. "And bringing in lots of money to help the hungry in Scioto County."
Lawson told the recruiters some 800 families received food assistance from the nine pantries in October, commenting that was just the number of families, and sometimes there are five or six or more people in those families.
Lawson said anyone who collects $50 or more would receive a free T-shirt, and anyone who collects $75 or more would receive a T-shirt and have their name put in for a drawing for a garden basket. Prizes would also be given to the recruiter who has the most donations and the recruiter who gets the most walkers.
The recruiters, who listened to a presentation, and watched an explanatory DVD Sunday, were urged to go out and begin getting people to form teams and collect money.
"My team will be predominantly people from my church, who will agree to go to their friends and family and co-workers and raise money," Cookson said. "And we will walk as a group from Second Presbyterian Church. We're trying to get some competitions going among the different groups, so we can get more money raised - because the more raised for the big walk, the more our part of the pie is."
The walk will begin at 2:30 p.m. at Tracy Park, travel down Chillicothe Street, past the Front Street murals, and back around to Tracy Park.
"Women in some Third World countries walk 3.6 miles just to get water," Lawson told the group.
"That's why our walk is three-and-a-half miles," said Stephanie Neff, one of the volunteers. "We do it for that reason."
Cookson said there is also a one-mile walk for people unable to walk the entire route. Those people would be bussed back to Tracy Park.
Seventy-five percent of the money goes to feed the hungry around the world, most of it through Church World Service, which does, among other projects, disaster relief.
"It has to go, in some way, to stop hunger," Cookson said. "No one is paid. It's all volunteer, and some of it will sponsor seed money for something that will help hunger, for a farm or something like that."
Lawson said she visited one of those places, Rwanda, Africa, in June, where the project helps support schools for boys and girls who may have previously lived on the streets.
Cookson said anyone interested in joining the walk, who has not been contacted would more than likely have a representative of the Crop Hunger Walk at their local church.
"There are also contact numbers on the signs that are posted, and you can contact any of those people, or you can show up the day of the walk, and be registered in, and turn in any money that you collect," Cookson said. "You get pledges, not necessarily for the miles walked, but for the total walk itself."
In a brochure, Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director and CEO of Crop Hunger Walk, writes, "Global strides are being made. Still, chronic poverty and hunger continue to plague almost a billion people - and nip at the heels of millions more. With access to sustainable development resources, clean water, and education, people can realize their hopes and achieve their dreams."
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.