Last updated: July 18. 2013 2:16PM - 357 Views
Debbie Rolen
Staff Writer

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Tom Knopp, Director of the Good Samaritan Center in the Ceredo-Kenova area, plans to walk 25 miles in every county of West Virginia to raise awareness for the hungry and to raise money for the state’s two food banks and local community food pantries.

He will begin his journey around the state’s 55 counties on Monday, April 22, at the Cabell County courthouse, walking from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., expecting to walk 25 miles each day. Resting on Sundays, his journey will take 65 days and end in his home county of Wayne on June 24.

United States Census Bureau statistics indicate West Virginia has 17.5 percent of its population living below the poverty level and “food insecure” households may take that percentage as high as 21 percent.

There is hope publicity for Knopp’s “walking out hunger in West Virginia” will touch hearts throughout the state to work together in their counties to support their local food pantries and the state’s two food banks which provide free food, or food at greatly reduced prices, so those feeding the hungry can stretch resources.

Knopp, nearly 69 years old, has been preparing for this mission for over a year, walking 15 to 20 miles nearly every day in the early morning hours before opening his barber shop.

Knopp has a reputation for raising awareness of needs and funds to meet them. The Good Samaritan Center has been the beneficiary of Knopp’s determination and persistence once when he lived homeless on the streets and raised $14,000 to replenish funds that had been critically low and again when Knopp walked 10 miles for every $100 raised — a total of 900 miles after raising $90,000 to purchase and remodel the center’s building.

At this point teams are still being organized within each county to work to handle the logistics of his walk, provide safe escort, a motel room for the night, and host venues for him to speak.

Visit www.walkingouthunger.org to see the schedule. Knopp is set to walk in Logan County on Friday, June 21, and in Mingo County on June 22.

Individuals may contact Jim McClure at 304-453-1770 or email jngmclur@netacs.net with questions.

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