Walkers and donators are urgently needed for this yearâ€™s Hunger Walk, scheduled for 3 p.m. on Oct. 16.
â€œThis is normally a $10,000 fundraiser for us,â€ said Susan Brymer, Execcutive Director for Christian Ministries of Lincoln County.
â€œAnd the need has never been greater.â€
Typically, the ministry can receive emergency food drops from the Charlotte area food bank. These emergency food drops allow the agency to purchase a truck load of food for a very low cost. But that supply has dried up, as the area food bank struggles to support all those who need help.
â€œFor three months in a row I have asked for a drop and I have been told â€˜no,â€™Â â€ Brymer said.
â€œThatâ€™s the first time this has ever happened.â€
The Charlotte food bank serves 600 agencies, and all of these agencies have increased demands for services.
For Christian Ministries, around 3,500 clients are receiving emergency services and support. The agency gives out between 35 and 40Â boxes of food each day. The numbers of people being served by the soup kitchen have also risen, from a normal of around 80 per day to 140 per day presently.
â€œPeople are either out of work or are on reduced hours. We are seeing people who weâ€™ve never seen before.â€
At the same time needs for service have gone up, donations have gone down.
â€œWe saw a serious dip around the first of September, and it hasnâ€™t come back at all yet,â€ Brymer said.
â€œEverybody is feeling the pinch and thereâ€™s also the fear factor of what the future economy holds.â€
Even commercial donations from grocery stores have decreased, as these businesses cut back on what they are stocking to avoid waste and improve their â€œbottom lines.â€
Because of the dip in donations and the lack of available supply from the Charlotte food bank, the ministry had to spend $7,500 of its reserve funds in September to purchase food boxes for those who need them most.
Anyone can walk in this yearâ€™s Hunger Walk. Unlike some of the fundraising walks held years ago, the Hunger Walk is designed for children, adults and the elderly alike. Walkers have a choice of walking either one mile or two miles. They can take breaks and can opt out at any time if they feel they cannot make the entire distance. A pick up van will follow walkers the entire route.
The walk begins at 3 p.m. at the Christian Ministry offices located at 207 South Poplar Street in Lincolnton. Walkers will follow the sidewalks to Flint Street, where Lincolnton Police will provide a safe street crossing.
Those walking the one mile route will return to the starting point. Those walking the two mile route will continue back west on Main Street to the Court House before returning to the starting point.
â€œSome people stop off at the coffee shop and others stop for ice cream along the way. There is no stress because this is not an athletic event,â€ Brymer said.
So far, only four of the 99 churches who belong to Christian Ministries have registered to participate, a figure that is disappointing to Brymer. â€œThe needs are great this time of year, and we desperately need everyoneâ€™s help,â€ Brymer said.
As a result, Brymer issued a challenge: â€œIf everyone would give up one simple â€˜luxuryâ€™ per week, such as a candy bar, special coffee, soft drink or lunch out and donate that money to help others, we would be in much better shape.â€
Want to help?
Pick up a sponsor sheet at Christian Ministriesâ€™ office and walk in this yearâ€™s Hunger Walk.
Or, if you prefer, make a direct donation to help alleviate the food shortage by mailing your check to P. O. Box 423, Lincolnton, N.C. Call (704) 732-0383 for more information.
MARTHA K. SEAGLE, Staff Writer