CROP Hunger Walk in Stephens Lake Park

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COLUMBIA - Over 100 activists walked around Stephens Lake Park on Sunday to raise money and awareness to end hunger in mid-Missouri and around the world.

Online donations before Sunday's walk totaled $4,753.60. Event coordinators said they expect that number to grow to $20,000 after counting donations.

The 26th edition of the walk in Columbia honored the work of Edith Prince, the founder and longtime director of the Russell Chapel Food Pantry. Prince attended the event.

"She's an all-around community supporter and a helping hand to anyone who needs it," co-coordinator Brad Boyd-Kennedy said. "She's taught us a lot, she really has."

Prince said the timing of the walk was special, too.

"We were at one of our meetings in the spring and they mentioned the date of the CROP walk and I just mentioned that it's my birthday," Prince said. "So, they bestowed the honor on me."

Prince turned 70 on Thursday, but they celebrated at the event Sunday. She said she's been a part of Columbia's CROP Hunger Walk for almost 20 years and there isn't any other way she'd like to spend her birthday.

Before walkers took the half-mile loop around Stephens Lake Park, Prince led the group in a special litany.

"Today you walk in solidarity with our vulnerable neighbors; you raise awareness and funds to help alleviate hunger," Prince said to the crowd.

"We step out and walk! We walk tall and strong! We walk with determined passion to fill the world's great need," the crowd recited back to her.

Boyd-Kennedy said people who came out to Sunday's walk are like a light in a dark world.

"Sometimes the world situation looks pretty pessimistic but on this day you can see people from a wide variety of faiths and backgrounds coming together in a spirit of fellowship and determination to make a difference," Boyd-Kennedy said.