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Hunger Walk brings awareness to Soup Kitchen

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Sunday, November 20, 2011

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The Merle State Hunger Walk begins with Miss Greater Greer Teen Abby Riggs and members of the Riverside High School lacrosse team as honorary starters.

The Merle State Hunger Walk begins with Miss Greater Greer Teen Abby Riggs and members of the Riverside High School lacrosse team as honorary starters.

More than 200 people of all ages, some in strollers, joined pets and a horse and wagon to participate in the 7th Annual Merle State Hunger Walk today during cloudy and cool conditions.

Don Lewis, chairman of the board of Greer’s Daily Bread Ministries, told the walkers and volunteers, “Today is all about awareness. Awareness is hunger at a stoplight, its standing beside you and working beside you.”

Most of the walkers were clad in green commemorative T-shirts symbolic of the walk. Sales of the T-shirts were brisk before the walk and will remain on sale at the Soup Kitchen through the holidays.

The walk begin at Memorial United Church on N. Main Street and turned left on Poinsett and ending at the Soup Kitchen.

It’s the first walk held without founder Merle State, who died September 2010. Last year’s Hunger Walk was held in April. State, who moved to Greer from Iowa in 1966, founded the Greer Soup Kitchen.

Lewis said 125 volunteers worked on the fundraiser that supplies the ministry with food and goods needed to serve an average of 140 meals daily. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays put added stress on the ministry’s cupboard.

“We said nobody will go hungry in Greer,” Lewis said. 

The slow economic conditions have meant more people coming to the Soup Kitchen for a meal. That has put a strain on its $86,000 annual budget. But Lewis said the rewards are also heartwarming.

“They tell us when they leave here they didn’t know where to go and they found the Soup Kitchen,” Lewis said. “When they begin back to work they give the Greer Soup Kitchen a donation from their first paycheck.”

Call 968-0323 for more information.

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