As the Hunger Walk/Run 2013 approaches, it is time to take a look at one of the most productive congregations that participates with Lutheran Services of Georgia: Trinity Lutheran Church of Lilburn, Georgia. In 2010 Trinity raised $7, 574 for the Hunger Walk/Run. In 2011 the church managed to collect a staggering $11,569 for the event. Last year, Trinity continued its high production by garnering $12,591 and had over 100 participants to boot. How has Trinity become so successful?
“Exposure,” Travis Wilhite, the Hunger Walk captain for Trinity, says. Beginning in January, the church promotes the event, which does not take place until March. A committee sets up a big display board in the parish hall and invites people to sign up for the event or to sponsor someone else who has already signed up. People get excited, Travis explains, when they see their names or the names of their loved ones on the board. The committee also decides on a theme for the year. In 2011 the congregation donned their imaginary baseball caps and gloves and decided to “strike out hunger.” Last year they put on their cowboy boots and “kicked hunger.” According to Travis, these themes—and their accompanying t-shirts—make the event more fun and enjoyable for the participants, who are then motivated to invest more of their money and energy.
The congregation has also been motivated by the death of Ken Bosler, a longtime member and Hunger Walk captain. After Ken died from cancer in 2010, the congregation wore t-shirts with “Walking for Ken in 2010” written on them at the Hunger Walk. 2010 was also the year that Trinity’s fundraising for the event skyrocketed, perhaps because people wanted to honor Ken by contributing their resources to an event that he passionately captained for years before his untimely death. The Hunger Walk is now a way for Trinity to honor the memory of Ken and to carry on his legacy.
During these first few weeks in February, Trinity has begun to stir with the first preparations for the Hunger Walk. A big display board has probably found its way into the parish hall. Someone has designed t-shirts. But the big question for the rest of us remains: what is this year’s theme? We will just have to wait to find out.