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Citizens responding to overcome poverty, for more than 25 years

According to Lynn Sheavly, the executive director of the North East Social Action Program, the Manchester/Hampstead CROP Hunger Walk on Oct. 6 will mark more than 25 years of organizing against hunger and poverty.

As with other fundraising walk events, participants in the Citizens Responding to Overcome Poverty event pledge to walk and collect funds from donors, or even make a donation themselves.

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"We've always left the amount of the donation open ended, it's whatever people felt they were able to give," Sheavly said. "There are no fees to walk, and no registration fees."

The event is sponsored by Church World Service, a nonprofit that has partnered with local groups to raise money to fight hunger for more than 40 years, according to Spokesman Matt Hackworth.

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"We work in more than 30 countries and the money from the CROP Walks help us provide sustainable food, water and protection programs in order to fulfill our mandate, which is to help the poor and most vulnerable in the world," Hackworth said. "Over the past few years, we raised a little more than $13 million, and about 25 percent of that goes to benefit 2,200 food bank programs across the U.S."

Church World Service uses 75 percent of the funds from each walk to fund its international anti-poverty programs, while the remaining 25 percent goes to a local food bank program, in this case, NESAP's own food pantry.

"That's one of the benefits of this event, you're acting locally and globally simultaneously," Sheavly said. "You're touching the lives not only in your neighborhood, but in neighborhoods all over the world. I cannot reach someone in Africa, but Church World Service can."

Last year's event raised a total of $7,998, of which $1,999.50 was paid to NESAP's food pantry, Sheavly said.

There were 150 participants last year, according to Sheavly, and she said hopes to see closer to 200 people come out this year.

The Manchester/Hampstead CROP Hunger Walk is planned by NESAP and a committee of representatives from local churches including Crosswind Church in Westminster, St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Hampstead, Emory United Methodist Church in Upperco, Shiloh United Methodist Church in Hampstead and the North Carroll Cooperative Parish, according to Sheavly.

Registration for the walk will open at 1:30 p.m. and is necessary for everyone, even those that may have been fundraising ahead of the walk, according to Sheavly.

"People get a sticker that identifies them as participating in the walk," Sheavly said. "There are also balloons and the first 200 walkers get a keepsake hunger walk pen."

Registration will take place at St. George's Episcopal Church at 2434 Cape Horn Road, Hampstead, and those donating at that time may do so with cash or a check made out to: "Church World Service / CROP."

After registration and an opening ceremony, the walk will begin at 2 p.m. at Cape Horn Park, which is adjacent to the church, on a paved, though occasionally hilly walking trail, Sheavly said.

Walkers are welcome to walk for as little or as much as they like, and then return to the church for post-walk refreshments and entertainment, according to Sheavly.

"There will be a moon bounce for the kids, there will be contemporary Christian music and there will be complimentary snowballs," Sheavly said. "Usually, the post walk activities start at around 2:30 p.m. and will end at 4 p.m."

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Music will be provided by Crosswind Church in Westminster, according to Scott Klein, a church representative on the planning committee.

"Each year we organize getting a band and this year the band is our worship band from Crosswind," Klein said. "Everything is donated so any of the walkers that participate are welcome to get free pizza and [sandwiches] donated by Genova's To Go. They even have a pizza oven on wheels that they will wheel in."

Klein said that it was important to note that participants do not need to be from any particular church to participate in the event, just willing to help those in the community who have trouble getting enough to eat.

"You walk, you eat, enjoy some fellowship and enjoy a beautiful day at the park," Klein said. "You can't ask for anything better."

For more information on the walk to or to obtain a fundraising pledge sheet ahead of the event, call Sheavly at 410-239-6216.

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