The 22nd annual Franklin County CROP Hunger Walk will take place at the Union City Park (Rotary Pavilion) across from the swimming pool in Union Sunday, Oct. 6. Registration will begin at 12:30 p.m., followed by the walk at 1 p.m.

CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty.

Everyone is welcome. Families are especially encouraged to participate and enjoy the afternoon of walking together for the hungry of the local community and for those who suffer the consequences of natural disasters around the United States and in the world.

The theme is “Ending Hunger, One Step at a Time.”

Walkers are asked to either sponsor themselves, or get others to sponsor them. Remember, every donation, whether large or small, adds up to help those in need.

There also will be a Rock-A-Thon at Frick’s store in Union on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., where individuals who rock, will collect money for CROP also.

‘The Need Is Great’

When people walk in the CROP Hunger Walk and/or donate to the Walk, one-fourth of the money raised goes to Loving Hearts in Washington and the Union Food Pantry.

“The need is great in all of Franklin County,” says Sandy Crider of Loving Hearts. “We have benefited from the CROP Hunger Walk for a number of years.”

Loving Hearts gives out 50,000 to 60,000 pounds of food a month. Every dollar donated buys 10 pounds of food, because the charity purchases food at 10 cents a pound at the St. Louis Food Bank.

Loving Hearts serves all of Franklin County.

“But we don’t duplicate,” says Sandy. “We tell people that we will help them one time, and give them information about their local food pantry. There are people who are influential in the community who tell us that we helped their families when they were children. We really don’t know how much it means at the time we give out food.”

Loving Hearts is located at 1902 W. Main St., Washington, across from Shure Manufacturing. People may call 636-390-8300 for more information.

The Union Food Pantry serves between 160 to 200 families each month in the Union School District and Villa Ridge. They average 16 new families per month and estimate that each family receives between $100 and $150 worth of food.

The pantry began in 1991 and is staffed by approximately 40 volunteers.

“The Union Food Pantry primarily exists because of the tremendous amount of donations and support from the local community,” says Jan Brennan, pantry volunteer.

They are thankful to Ray Pracht, who donates the use of his building. The pantry is located at 113 W. Locust and is open Mondays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m., with the exception of the first Thursday of each month when it is open an extra hour until 5 p.m.

Began in 1940s

There are CROP Hunger Walks in some 1,500 communities across the United States. They began in 1947 when Church World Service, Lutheran World Relief and the National Catholic Welfare Program created a joint community hunger appeal, the Christian Rural Overseas Program, also known as CROP.

For many years CROP has benefited people in the United States, as well as around the world. In the 1970s Church World Service began responding to U.S. poverty and disasters at the request of its member churches.

In addition to helping the local community, funds raised at CROP walks are distributed by Church World Service, Lutheran World Relief and Catholic Relief Services, or as designated by the sponsors of walkers, to wherever people are in need.

Last year over $4 million was given nationwide to local food pantries from funds raised by CROP Walks. There were over 2,000 walks in the United States.

The local walk has been planned by Church Women United of Franklin County.

For more information on participating in the local walk, call Carol Gruber at 636-583-2325 or Norma Klemme at 583-6477.

All people of all churches in Franklin County are invited to participate. Everyone can help hungry people by being there.