MIFFLINTOWN - A decades-old tradition in Juniata County needs new guidance to continue and grow.
The Rev. Graham Fowler, treasurer of the Juniata County Ministerium, said the association is seeking coordinators for the 41st annual CROP walk. Fowler said the event is a fundraiser sponsored by Church World Service and exists to spread awareness about hunger around the world.
According to the CWS website, hunger is the world's number one health risk. One in seven people worldwide go to bed hungry, and more than 14.5 percent of people in the United States don't know where their next meal will come from.
Though there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, access is not equal. Proceeds from CROP walks throughout the U.S. provide funding to CWS's worldwide partners in ministry, the website states.
CROP walks have been held in Juniata County since 1973, when about 350 people walked from Mifflintown to McAlisterville.
The walk now is held at the Walker Township Park during the first or second weekend in October. Fowler said last year's event raised $11,545.45. A percentage of funds raised annually benefits ministry partners of CWS, and about 25 percent comes back to Juniata County, he said. Traditionally, local funds are used to support the food pantry and Meals on Wheels.
CROP walk coordinators are responsible for securing a location, setting a date, distributing promotional material and - most importantly - being present the day of the event to lead and encourage participants, Fowler said. Individuals who wish to volunteer should be self-motivated with skills for event organization and implementation.
"This is an excellent way to promote hunger ministries," he said.
Fowler added Juniata County has one of the longest-running CROP walks in Pennsylvania.
"People are familiar with it. They like to contribute to it," he said.
After the walk, coordinators are responsible for reporting back to CWS.
Those who feel led to help should call Graham Fowler at 463-3138 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.