PELLA — Area residents will again have an opportunity to join in the fight against world hunger through the Pella CROP Walk which is being staged virtually from Saturday, Sept. 26-Monday, Oct. 5.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, the traditional organized 5K group walk will not be conducted. But walkers are encouraged to participate on their own by walking, running or biking whatever distance they choose sometime in that 10-day span. Walkers can walk alone or perhaps with family members or a couple of close friends.

While the walk is virtual, the need is real. Participants seek pledges for hunger relief donations. Donations can be made online at www.crophungerwalk.org/pellaia and more information is available at that site as well. Participants can register for the walk there as individuals or through a team. Area churches, groups and individuals are encouraged to join in the walk and help raise funds. For more information contact Sarah Lunsford at lunsfords@central.edu or 641-628-5432.

The CROP Walk is sponsored by Church World Service, an ecumenical organization that supports a variety of charitable initiatives. One hundred percent of all donations go directly to hunger relief and community development projects at the local, national and international levels. And 25 percent of the donations are allocated locally, helping support the Pella Community Food Shelf.

In addition to providing financial support, the walk also is intended to raise awareness of the need for hunger relief. More than 1.02 billion people worldwide are undernourished and each day, 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. Hunger and malnutrition are the top risks to global health, killing more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

More than $13,000 was raised in Pella last year, the most in the past eight years and since 2002, area residents and churches have contributed more than $200,000 for those in need.

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