The volunteer and sponsorship count for this yearâ€™s Christian Ministries Hunger Walk remains low despite efforts to raise the communityâ€™s awareness about this yearâ€™s increased need for food donations.
Last Friday, the Times-News published an article on the nonprofit organizationâ€™s â€œdire needâ€ for support this year. At the time, only four area churches had signed up to participate in the Walk.
As of late Thursday morning, the number of volunteer churches signed up to walk had increased by three, bringing the church group total to seven. Two individuals have also been added to the list, according to Christian Ministriesâ€™ Executive Director Susan Brymer.
However, a significant gap in walkers is still evident when comparing this yearâ€™s numbers to Â years past.
â€œNinety-one people have forms,â€ she said. â€œUsually, we have 200 walkers.â€
Brymer attributes much of the decrease in numbers to the same factor that seems to be at the top of everyoneâ€™s list these days â€” the lack of improvement in the economy.
â€œI know itâ€™s hard,â€ she said.
â€œFood and gas have gone up, and heating season is just around the corner, but most of us can spare a little bit.â€
Brymer noted there are always â€œother waysâ€ to help those in need. She said a walker doesnâ€™t have to be affiliated with a church, can give as much or as little money toward the event as possible and if necessary, can even serve as oneâ€™s own sponsor.
â€œYou donâ€™t have to have any certain amount,â€ she said.
â€œI think people are hesitant because (they think) it works like March of Dimes or Relay for Life.â€
Brymer noted how in years past, small children participated in the Walk and even gave just a couple of dollars.
â€œI was proud of them for making an effort,â€ she said.
She also hopes individuals arenâ€™t reluctant to participate in the event due to their older age or inability to walk at least one or two miles.
â€œYou can walk as far or as little as you want to,â€ she noted.
At last yearâ€™s Hunger Walk, a couple of elderly participants were uncomfortable with walking the long distance in front of others and decided to walk around the back of the parking lot, Brymer said.
Hunger is a worldwide problem that also affects numerous people in the local community. Christian Ministries hopes area residents who are â€œconcerned about people being hungryâ€ understand that the need isnâ€™t just during the holidays but exists all-year long.
â€œHunger does exist,â€ Brymer said. â€œItâ€™s a part of our world. People may not want to think about that part of the world.â€
Although the Charlotte-area food bank, which supplies hundreds of regional agencies including Christian Ministries, usually sends emergency food drops each year to the Lincolnton organization, the supply has been whittled down to nothing due to all agenciesâ€™ increased need for food.