QUINCY -- More than 50 Quincy area residents took a walk Sunday afternoon in support of battling hunger, both at the local and global levels.
The annual CROP Hunger Walk -- a two-mile journey around the grounds of the Illinois Veterans Home -- is designed to draw attention to those individuals, regions and nations in need of food assistance.
Proceeds from this year's event will benefit the Horizons Soup Kitchen in Quincy, plus a variety of programs sponsored by Church World Service, which is headquartered in Chicago.
"Most of the money raised comes from pledges and special offerings held in (participating) local churches," said Wendy Maas, a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Quincy, which helps coordinate the local CROP Hunger Walk.
Maas estimated Sunday's walk at the IVH will generate between $1,000 and $2,000, with 25% of the total staying local and benefitting Horizons.
Horizons serves more than 35,000 hot meals each year to those in need, plus assisting an estimated 12,000 people with its food pantry.
CROP was originally an acronym for Christian Rural Overseas Program, an organization that was initially founded to provide food assistance for struggling economies worldwide.
"Events like the CROP Hunger Walk foster an atmosphere of hope, love and acceptance behind every meal," said Sarah Stephens, executive director of Horizons.
Nationwide, an average of close to 1,000 CROP Hunger Walks generate more than $8 million each year. CROP is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Conny Bakker-Gerhardt, who teaches German at Quincy High School, led a group of QHS German Club students who were taking part in Sunday's event.
"It's nice to enjoy the walk with the students and talk about non school-related things -- and it's for a good cause," Bakker-Gerhardt said.
Julianna Eden and Kaleb Poage, both 17-year-old seniors at QHS, enjoyed being able to contribute to the cause.
"It's something good to do (for others)," Eden said.
"I had no idea about this before this year," Poage said.
The Rev. Patty Johansen of Vermont Street United Methodist Church was in her sixth year of taking part in the local walk. She feels it is an excellent way to support the fight against hunger.
"There is hunger everywhere," Johansen said.