Manatee fundraiser one of 35 walks going on statewide this weekend

vmannix@bradenton.comFebruary 20, 2013 

MANATEE -- John and Lola Bregger drive across the Green Bridge as frequently as any area residents.

"When you're driving it's not very far, but it's further than it looks," he said.

Especially when you're walking it.

Which the Breggers and some 180-plus people will do Sunday for CROP Hunger Walk 2013, an annual fundraiser sponsored by Church World Service and supported by various local churches and organizations to raise funds to end hunger.

Last year's CROP Hunger Walk raised $13,000 and 25 percent went to Our Daily Bread.

Bregger, the event's treasurer and organizer, hopes for another successful event Sunday.

"It's a great, friendly, fun thing to do and I believe in its effectiveness," he said.

So does Amy Killgallon, Florida's regional director for Church World Service in DeLand.

"We've had success growing that walk, which doubled the amount of fund raised in the last two years," she said. "More congregations are involved and we're always looking for more who want to be a part of it."

There will be 35 CROP Hunger Walks Sunday statewide, she said. Last year more than $500,000 was raised in Florida.

The event was started in the 1950s in the U.S., and has been held for more than 30 years in Florida.

That resonates with Breg

ger, who grew up in Belle Glade and its agricultural community. "We've always been in position to try and help the disadvantaged," he said.

"We focus on hunger because we believe no one should go hungry," Killgallon said.

While 25 percent of the event's proceeds stay within the community, the balance goes toward assisting 40 countries with high infant mortality rates.

"There is enough food," she said. "It's just getting it to those who need it."

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix

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