Tonawanda News

September 19, 2013

CROP Walking for hunger

By Jill Keppeler jill.keppeler@tonawanda-news.com
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — All those people walking along Delaware Road this weekend will be out there for more than just a Sunday stroll.

Ken-Ton residents, including members of many area churches, will band together Sunday for the annual Ken-Ton CROP Walk, which will begin with registration at 1 p.m. at Kenmore United Methodist Church on Delaware and Landers roads. The walk itself begins at 1:30 p.m. and will proceed south along Delaware Road and then north back to the church. There is both a 2.4-mile route and a walk to Kenmore Presbyterian and back that’s just under a mile.

Bonnie LeValley, registrar for the event and a deacon at Kenmore United Methodist Church, said it — like other CROP Walks throughout the country — raises money to help prevent hunger not only around the world, but right in the Kenmore area.

“The monies come back into the area,” she said. “About 25 percent of funds raised come back to local food pantries for our communities.”

LeValley said the event has been taking place about 30 years. It has moved back and forth from Kenmore to alongside the Niagara River in Tonawanda, settling for the past two years back in the village. Those participating can register that day, online at www.crophungerwalk.org, by calling LeValley at 875-5091 or by picking up a sponsor sheet at Kenmore United Methodist Church. Participants are also encouraged to donate non-perishable items for local food pantries.

Churches that are taking part this year include Kenmore United Methodist Church, Kenmore Presbyterian Church, Zion United Church of Christ, Nativity United Church of Christ, Kenmore United Church of Christ and Deerhurst Presbyterian Church. However, LeValley said that everyone is welcome to take part.

“It’s open to whomever wants to join the walk,” she said. “We’ve had beautiful days for the walk, and we hope that continues. It’s wonderful when the churches can work together.”

This year, the event’s theme is “Moving for Hunger,” and participants in wheelchairs are encouraged to take part as well. Members of a local Girl Scout troop have volunteered to help push anyone in a wheelchair who wants to participate, said Joan Mohalski, a member of the walk committee. Kenmore Fire Department EMTs will be on standby for any walk participant.

Melissa Foster, president of the Kenmore Village Improvement Society, will serve as the honorary chairperson of the 2013 walk. She said that the walk has been going on for so long that multiple generations have taken part over the years.

“So many people have been putting their feet where (their) hearts are for such a long time,” she said. “We don’t want to think of anyone going hungry ... anywhere. People like to think hunger really is a ‘other people’ situation in Ken-Ton. But right here in Ken-Ton, we have a number of people who are the working poor.”

Even those who can put some food on the table may have issues providing enough healthy, quality food — the “ramen noodle situation” — Foster said, and many elderly people may be too proud to ask for help.

“Hunger is real and it’s right here, it’s in Kenmore,” she said. “And it’s something we all need to be concerned about. I don’t think any of us want to think our neighbors are waking up or going to bed hungry.”

More than 1,6000 walks now take place each year, and more than 5 million walkers have participated in more than 36,000 CROP walks over the last two decades.

IF YOU GO • WHAT: Ken-Ton CROP Walk • WHEN: 1:30 p.m. Sunday (Registration at 1 p.m.) • WHERE: The walk begins at Kenmore United Methodist Church, 32 Landers Road, Kenmore. • FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.crophungerwalk.org or call Bonnie LeValley at 875-5091.