PRINCETON — Bureau County CROP Hunger Walk donation recipients are hoping for a good turnout for the annual event scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 13.
An increased turnout is important because a portion of the dollars collected during the event go directly toward the purchase of food by local pantries. Local food pantries have experienced decreased government funding recently.
This decreased funding hurts some of the more vulnerable. Local food pantries “provide emergency food assistance to people who are experiencing emergency circumstances and do not have enough money to meet their basic food needs,” according to a brochure distributed by the Bureau County Food Pantry.
County food pantry directors agree the need for donations is unusually critical this time of year.
“Last August in the Princeton region we were hit simultaneously with a 36 percent increase in requests for food and a decrease in food purchasing dollars from the USDA,” community services coordinator Vanessa Hoffeditz said. “That equates to food assistance for 551 individuals in 199 households." The August totals are the most recent available.
“The importance of local donations will become more critical as we approach the winter holiday season,” Hoffeditz added. “We don’t want end up short of funds and have to turn down requests.”
Hoffeditz has set a goal of having at least one month’s worth of CROP Hunger Walk dollars available to purchase food for the hungry in the Princeton region.
“That amount of money will help us cover unforeseen expenses related to food purchases,” Hoffeditz said. “We would actually appreciate donations from any source.”
As part of the CROP Hunger Walk event, Princeton the Tri-Counties Opportunities Council located at 1019 N. Main Street will provide water and brochures to walkers. The Bureau County Food Pantry is located in the Tri-Counties Opportunities Council building.
“Last year participants raised over $15,000 and had 145 walkers,” Pastor Brenda Lovick of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manlius, coordinator for the Bureau County CROP Hunger Walk said.
“Even though it rained during last year’s event, we had the largest amount of donations and participants ever,” Lovick said. “We need CROP walkers rain or shine. This year’s goal is $17,000 and 150 walkers regardless of the weather.”
“We walk a 5K along a route in Princeton,” Lovick said. “Will start and end at First Lutheran Church in Princeton on Pleasant Street. Registration begins at 1:30 on Sunday, Oct. 13, and the walk starts at 2 p.m. The walk usually lasts one hour. Donations from the walk will be turned in during registration. Registration forms may be obtained through participating churches.
“Most participants walk with their church teams,” Lovick added. “Those with questions should start with their churches and find out who is leading their team.
“Of the funds collected, 25 percent go directly back the Bureau County,” Lovick said. “Those dollars in turn support six hunger ministries. Last year, we supported four food pantries ... This year we’re extending support to include the Princeton and Bureau Valley Buddy Bag programs.
“Most of the money we raise goes toward Church World Service,” she continued. “They coordinate local and international emergency aid responses to disasters. CWS responded recently to the floods in Colorado. Complete details about their aid programs can be found at www.cwsglobal.org.”
CROP is an acronym for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty. The website for he Bureau CROP Hunger Walk can be found at www.CROPHungerWalk.org.