Thousands of families in Johnson County struggle with hunger and finding enough food.
The Interchurch Food Pantry sees the number of clients it serves grow every month. More people to feed requires additional donations to keep up with the need.
This Sunday, people can take advantage of the early fall weather and support hunger initiatives at the same time.
The Harvest Walk will help feed the hungry in Johnson County, as well as provide funding for groups that work against food insecurity around the world. People can take part in a 3.1-mile walk or run on Franklin’s Greenway trail, all while providing money and non-perishable food donations for the Interchurch Food Pantry.
“It adds funds so we can buy more food,” said Karol Dougherty, one of the organizers of the event. “We have been really low on meat recently, and the funds we get will help buy those types of things that our customers like.”
The Harvest Walk will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, starting at Grace United Methodist Church, 1300 E. Adams Drive, Franklin. Registration will begin at 1.
The Harvest Walk is a re-imagining of the CROP Walk, which had been the first Sunday in October for many years. The CROP Walk was part of a worldwide fundraiser supporting Church World Services, a faith-based organization tackling hunger and poverty around the world.
Funds raised at the CROP Walk went to Church World Services, with part of the proceeds coming back to Johnson County to help the Interchurch Food Pantry and the rest going towards global hunger programs.
But in recent years, local participation was waning, Dougherty said. Some churches had other hunger missions that they supported and didn’t get involved in the CROP Walk.
“The number of participants was going down, as were the donations,” Dougherty said. “A lot of churches did not recognize Church World Services.”
In order to maximize participation among area churches, organizers broke from Church World Services and formed their own event.
Now, 75 percent of the proceeds of the Harvest Walk will go directly to the Interchurch Food Pantry. The remaining 25 percent of funds will go to a global hunger program of each individual participant’s choice. They can still donate to Church World Services if they’d like, but can also support organizations such as Food for the Poor.
The name change is the most visible new aspect of the event. But organizers also have taken the opportunity to add other features to attract more people, Dougherty said.
In addition to the 5K route, a shorter route has also been planned around Webb and Needham elementary schools. That way, even those who can’t walk or run that far can take part, Dougherty said.
People who take part will receive a certificate of appreciation, and organizers will encourage people throughout the walk.
In addition to the monetary donations, people will also have the chance to bring non-perishable foods, such as canned soup, vegetables and boxed pasta, for the food pantry.
“We’ve tried to jazz it up for people,” Dougherty said. “We tried to make it a little more exciting, and a little easier for people to donate.”
What: A 5K walk and run on Franklin’s Greenway trail helping to support the Interchurch Food Pantry, as well as organizations fighting hunger on a global scale.
When: 2 p.m. Sunday; registration starts at 1.
Where: Grace United Methodist Church, 1300 E. Adams St., Franklin
Monetary donations as well as non-perishable food donations will be accepted at the event.