For many, the table is empty

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They call it mud season or shoulder season. It's the time of year when the flow of tourists dries to a trickle and a lot of seasonal jobs dry up with it.

For many, it will be November or December before they see another steady paycheck. For those with savings, this is the time to leave town for a vacation. For the rest, this is a time to count pennies and hope the supply of food in the cupboard outlasts that last dollar.

It's the time of year when the LIFT-UP Food Bank sees an increase in people asking for help.

"This is the time of year when the food bank is very, very busy," said David Freseman, executive director of LIFT-UP of Routt County. "From now until Christmas, the community really rises to the challenge with a variety of food drives and (fund-raisers)."

Hunger affects 842 million people around the world. In Steamboat, the hunger pangs can be helped with food vouchers. In much of the world, though, the table stays empty. About 33,000 people a day die from hunger and hunger-related illnesses.

On Saturday, the public is invited to participate in the second annual Steamboat Springs Crop Walk, a fund-raiser for hunger-relief efforts.

A number of people has been collecting pledges for the fund-raiser, but others can just show up to show their solidarity with the hungry people of the world. Donations are welcome but not necessary.

The Crop Walk begins at 10 a.m. in the Meadows parking lot at the base of the ski area. It will follow the bike path to the Stock Bridge Transit Center.

The Community Agriculture Alliance will provide a lunch for anyone who walks.

Buses will return walkers to their cars at the Meadows parking lot.

Proceeds raised by the four-mile walk will be distributed to hunger-relief efforts locally and worldwide.

The local Crop Walk is tied to a national effort organized by the Church World Service.

Church World Service will return 25 percent of the proceeds to the LIFT-UP Food Bank through the Routt County United Way campaign. The remaining 75 percent will be given to hunger-relief efforts. Participants can designate any hunger agency of their choice. Funds that are not designated will go to the relief efforts of the Church World Services.

Last year, more than 100 people attended the event and raised $12,000.

"In terms of our engagement with the world, we always talk about war," said Tim Selby, Crop Walk organizer and associate pastor of the United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs. "Whatever people's thoughts are about that, we can engage the global community in a different way. Addressing hunger is one of the most important ways we can get involved in the world."

-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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