More than 200 people gathered at Tennis Meadows on Saturday for the inaugural Steamboat Springs Crop Walk.
The participants raised about $14,000 from pledges and various donations, said Tim Selby, one of the event's organizers and associate pastor of United Methodist Church.
About 20,000 people die every day from malnutrition, Selby said. Saturday's crowd, which spanned from parents with babies in strollers to senior citizens, rallied to fight world hunger.
"Have no doubt that we do make a difference," Selby said. "By us being here, we are saying to the hungry people of the world, 'We won't close our eyes and our ears to you. We gather to walk with you.'"
The local walk is part of a nationwide Crop Walk campaign which, for 2003, is focused on the plight of refugees. Selby invited members of the West African community who live and work in Steamboat, most arriving as refugees from Mauritania, to join the walk and share their experiences.
After a prayer and a word from former West African refugee Douda Adama, the Crop Walk departed from Tennis Meadows, heading for the finish at the Stock Bridge Transit Center, where a free lunch provided by Routt County Cattle Women and Routt County Woolgrowers awaited participants.
"We're out here to help the hungry people of the world," said 30-year-old Steamboat Springs resident Pat Nudd. "Anytime you can get people to come together to say, 'Hey, there's people who need help,' it's a worthy cause -- even if it's just 10 people."
Danielle Skov, 33, of Steamboat Springs, and her husband had to walk fast to keep up with their bike-riding children.
"We figured this was a good opportunity to teach our kids about charity," said Skov, who sponsored herself at the last minute, rather than seeking funds from friends and neighbors.
Like Skov, Cara Martinez, 23, of Steamboat Springs, also joined the Crop Walk at the last minute. She said she and a friend would attempt to raise funds in the next couple of days to donate for hunger.
Seventeen-year-old Katie Hanson raised $115 for the Crop Walk from friends and family.
After the event, Selby said he was surprised by the amount of money the Crop Walk raised. Of the proceeds, 25 percent will go to the local LIFT-UP Food Bank, and the other 75 percent will go to global relief causes.