SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- The 36th annual Christian Rural Overseas Program (CROP) Walk was held in Schenectady on Sunday in an effort to raise awareness and money for the hungry.
Organizers won't know how much was raised this year until later on this week, but last year, the event raised more than $48,000 and they're confident they can top that this year.
Hundreds of people around the nation walk each year to raise awareness about the realities of hunger and raise money to fight it.
"We can eliminate hunger in our day if we choose to do so and people are here as a witness to say that can be done," said Phillip Grigsby, executive director of Schenectady Inner City Ministry and the CROP Walk coordinator.
"It's very real and it's very prominent in Schenectady," said Don Wheeler, a participant of the walk.
Don Wheeler has been part of the CROP walk for more than 20 years. He sees the need to help the hungry first hand.
"We're involved with the SICM food pantry as well and so through that connection and through our church connection we deal with hunger all the time," Wheeler said.
For 36 years, people have gathered in Schenectady for the CROP walk. Organizers were hoping to break a fundraising record in this year's event. Grigsby says the goal is $50,000. But no matter how much money they raise, 25 percent of it goes toward helping hungry people right here in the Capital Region. The rest gets distributed overseas.
"It's for disaster assistance, it's for refugee resettlement, and it's for self-help development," Grigsby said.
Even though the weather wasn't what they hoped for, they will continue to walk until hunger no longer exists.
"I remember walking in the snow at least once and rain a couple of times," Wheeler said.
"We walk one day a year because people here and around the world walk everyday for food, for water, our refugees, for shelter, and we walk in solidarity for them," said Grisgby.