Remember the CROP Walks? Supported by churches and spearheaded by a caring community member, Julie McNaughton, the walks raised funds to fight hunger locally and globally. When Julie retired from her role a few years ago, Stepping Stones didn’t want to see the tradition end so we organized a family friendly 5K walk/run that’s now in its third year. Held on the Red Cedar Trail on a beautiful fall Saturday, this year’s event is Sept. 28 with registration starting at 9 a.m. and the race at 10 a.m.

The word crop in CROP Walk is a reference both to crops of food and also an acronym for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty. Surely we still want to be such a community. The new walk/run is called Step Up to Hunger, meaning take a 5K’s worth of steps to help alleviate hunger. There are almost 7,000 steps in a kilometer. If you’re going for 10,000 a day, you’ll be well on your way if you join us for Step Up to Hunger! It’s a win-win. You get exercise and you contribute to a good cause. And you get to experience a feeling of solidarity because you’re with others who share the conviction that everyone deserves to have sufficient food.

If that’s not enough encouragement, though, how about knowing that at the end of the 5K you get a free meal of delicious chili and cornbread, served at Riverside Park adjacent to the trail? And, of course, you get a really cool t-shirt and a swag bag! Advance on-line registration is appreciated at www.steppingstonesdc.org.

Similar to the CROP Walks, getting pledges is also recommended. It helps spread the word about the event and the issue of hunger, and it makes your steps count that much more. For those willing to take this ‘extra step’, there’s a form to download after completing the on-line registration or a link for on-line pledging to share with your supporters. The top three pledge-getters receive a prize!

Also, there are medals for walker and runner best times with categories for both adults and children. Hardcore runners please note, it’s unofficial timing.

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Thousands of our neighbors are food insecure, meaning at times they don’t know where or when they will have their next meal. Others are hungry, meaning there is no next meal. One in nine people in western Wisconsin is food insecure. For children it’s one in five. Children’s intellectual, emotional, and physical development depends on access to wholesome foods and good nutrition. Consider these comments from parents who use the Stepping Stones Food Pantry:

My boys are so happy to come home from school and see that I went to the pantry that day.

We would not make it through the week without the food pantry. More often than not, our dinners are from the pantry. This feeds our daughter almost daily.

Your steps would help make these results possible. Hope to see you on the Red Cedar Trail on Sept. 28.

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