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Meal delivery program to benefit from Hunger Walk through Mt. Pleasant, Scottdale

| Thursday, May 15, 2014, 2:09 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Volunteers at the Mt. Pleasant Senior Center gather on a daily basis to package meals to be delivered to the elderly in the area. Funds from an upcoming walk will go toward the paper products and bags the center buys for this service. From left are Lisa Fetty of Hunker, Nancy Richter of Mt. Pleasant and Ida Moyemont of Mt. Pleasant Township.

Ending hunger one step at a time is the motto for the CROP Hunger Walk.

The program unites people from all over to take part in walking events with the same simple goal in mind: to help those in need who are struggling.

The Hunger Walk will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, following the route of the Coke and Coal Trail in Mt. Pleasant/Scottdale.

“We are excited to be doing this event this year,” Mt. Pleasant Senior Center director Pam Soforic said. “We hope to do this now every year.”

Started in 1947, CROP, which stands for Christian Rural Overseas Program, originally intended its walks for Midwestern families to share their crops and grain with others in need in post-World War II Europe and Asia.

Now the name is kept for its historical value and recognition, but CROP Hunger Walks are also geared to helping local organizations and groups, benefiting the communities where they are held. They support local food banks, pantries, community gardens and other hunger-fighting initiatives.

“We will be receiving 25 percent of the money that is raised at the walk,” Soforic said. “The money will go toward the home-delivered meals that we do. We also now took over the Meals on Wheels, so all of the money we get will go toward our delivery program.”

The meals delivered by the volunteers at the senior center are funded through Westmoreland County, but the packaging is not and is purchased by the center.

“We buy all the bags and paper products,” senior center supervisor Jennifer Gilpin said. “We do not pay for the food, but we do pay for all the bags, and the funds raised at the walk will be a big help to us.”

Registration for the walk will be held in the parking area of the Shop Demo Depot in Mt. Pleasant. The depot is one of the sponsors of the event. It will provide refreshments.

The walk will begin at the Coal and Coke trail head and will follow the entire length of the trail, ending at Kendi Park in Scottdale, a distance of about 5 miles. A shuttle will be provided to transport walkers back to Mt. Pleasant.

Pizza will be served in the pavilion area, provided by Rick Rega of Mt. Pleasant.

“We are hoping to encourage the community to get involved, such as church youth groups, businesses and other organizations,” Soforic said. “This would be a great intergenerational program for people in the area to take part in.”

Those who wish to participate can contact the center for a participant package or just arrive prior to the walk to pledge a flat fee.

Walkers can get sponsors to pledge more funding if they prefer.

The walk will be held rain or shine.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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