HOLDEN, Mass. — Participants trekking the 5 miles between Immanuel Lutheran Church and St. Francis Episcopal Church for the 34th annual Holden Crop Hunger Walk this Sunday aim to raise $10,000 to help both the local and global community.
Six churches from Holden and Worcester will participate in the Holden Crop Hunger Walk. First held in 1969 in North Dakota, the Crop Walk was started in recognition of the great distances that people in many countries must walk just to get clean water. The first event helped to raise thousands of dollars to fight hunger worldwide.
Now, more than 1,600 crop walks are held across the country. In the past 33 years, the Holden Crop Walk has helped raise a total of $204,214.
Proceeds support sustainable self-help development, refugee assistance and disaster relief efforts in more than 80 countries, including the United States, and 25 percent goes will go to the Wachusett Food Pantry and Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry.
Event coordinator Kathy Mills has been involved in the walk since 1988 and has seen the impact the funds make in her visits to Honduras and Vietnam.
"I went to Honduras in 1999, a year after the hurricane struck, so I was able to see first-hand how they helped with disaster relief, and by giving people the tools to improve their own lives," said Mills.
Furthermore, Church World Service partners with other agencies and funds local programs, "so we're not giving handouts, but giving people a chance to help themselves, and to have a better quality of life," Mills said.
Walkers of all ages participate in the event, which is followed by food and music at Immanuel Lutheran Church.
"We try to make it a fun day," said Mills. "We get together with people from other congregations and get to know each other, and a lot of people walk every year."
Registration begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Holden, with the walk to commence at 1:30 p.m. A benefit concert by The Jolly Beggars will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m., also at the church.