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Hundreds walk in Rock Hill to combat hunger

By Sunday evening, Dan Young expected to have at least five Cool Whip pies thrown at his face.

The Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church youth minister had promised his youth group of about 20 that for every person who raised $100 individually for this year's York County CROP Walk, that person could throw a pie in his face or at any of the ministers.

The group rose to the challenge, with eight reaching that goal.

"It's impressive that the youth took it seriously," Young said. "I'm proud of them."

A Clemson University Tigers fan, Young had also promised that if the group raised more than $3,000 collectively, he would sport a University of South Carolina Gamecocks T-shirt. The group raised about $1,200, but Young was so happy that he arrived at the walk's kick-off Sunday dressed in a USC T-shirt and Clemson skirt.

The church's youth group had at least 15 members participate in the walk this year, the most they've ever had.

Those youth were some of the nearly 600 people who registered for the 34th annual York County CROP walk, which began Sunday afternoon on Dinkins lawn on Winthrop University's campus.

Sponsored by the Church World Service, the walks are community-wide events with the goal of raising funds to help fight hunger locally and globally.

Currently, more than 2,000 communities across the United States participate in more than 1,600 CROP walks each year.

Mary Catherine Hinds, associate director of the Southeastern region of the Church World Service, noted that York County's CROP walk is the oldest in the state and ranks 77th in fundraising out of those nearly 2,000 national walks, "a real pacesetter," she said.

In its 34 years, the county's walk has raised exactly $614,519, averaging about $30,000 each year, and she expected this year to be right on track.

Of the funds raised, 25 percent go to local organizations, "a significant amount," she added. The funds are used for endeavors such as community gardens, local farming and development tools in the needy communities.

"You have such a range of ages that participate," Hinds said, "and it's the only way to do something about local and global hunger."

Narcie Jeter has been organizing the county CROP walks for the past six years and was pleased with Sunday's turnout.

"It was a good turnout, and the crowd had a lot of energy," she said.

The energetic crowd was led into the Electric Slide by Ron Regan of Saddle Creek, a new nonalcoholic country music entertainment facility on Cherry Road in Rock Hill, before marching through the campus and downtown Rock Hill toward the Winthrop Coliseum.

Sunday's walk represented a service project for Christen Rentz, Maclain Borsich and Kristen Mclaurin, Winthrop students and members of Christian organization Alpha Omega. It was their first time at the CROP walk.

"It's really good because we like to do as much as we can to help people around us," said Rentz, a junior athletic training major.

"It's good to know we can do something."

Youth with Children in Action at Newkirk Baptist Church on Museum Road were participating for the second time.

Seven-year-old Meredith Reeves and 8-year-old Ally Gregory liked the can structures at the Coliseum last year, in which organizations on campus constructed various shapes out of cans. Participants in the CROP walk got to vote on their favorite.

Drew Jackson, 8, just enjoyed the walking with his group.

"We're here to give to people who are hungry and in need," said 8-year-old Ashley King.

"There might be people who don't have food."

What is Crop Walk?

It is a community-wide walking event with the goal of raising funds to help fight hunger locally and globally, sponsored by the Church World Service.

This is the 34th year York County has participated. York County's CROP walk is the oldest in the state and ranks 77th in fundraising out of those nearly 2,000 national walks.

In its 34 years, the county's walk has raised exactly $614,519, averaging about $30,000 each year.

Raw video: Crop Walkers do 'Electric Slide'

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