Hike For Hunger is a fun event that raises awareness about a serious issue | ParkRecord.com

Hike For Hunger is a fun event that raises awareness about a serious issue

Five years ago, Christian Center of Park City Executive Director Rob Harter and the nonprofit's board of directors created the first Hike for Hunger.

The idea was not to set up a typical silent/live auction event, but to do something that was driven by the issue of hunger, rather than fundraising, Harter told The Park Record.

"We wanted people to come and have fun and enjoy hiking in Deer Valley, while becoming aware of hunger in Summit County," Harter said.

The fifth annual Hike For Hunger will be held at Deer Valley on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 1:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Advance registration is $25. Day of registration is $35 or a full bag of groceries.

"We want everyone to come, and don't want money to prevent them," Harter said. "So if they bring a sack of food, we will let them in."

The Hike For Hunger will raise money and collect food for the Christian Center of Park City's food pantries in Park City and Heber.

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"In 2015, the Christian Center of Park City provided more than 1,186,250 meals to Summit County and Washington County residents, which equals about $1.8 million worth of food," Harter said.

Also, more than 48,700 people received food over the year. More than 36,100 were served by the Park City Food Pantry and more than 12,600 were served in Heber, Harter said.

"The need has gone up and the need for our Heber food pantry has increased so much," he said. "We still have more people come to our Park City pantry, but we have a feeling that in the next two years that Heber food pantry clients will eclipse the Park City clients."

In addition, the Christian Center serves 55 residents on the Goshute Reservation once a month with its Mobile Food Pantry.

"This year, we also started a community garden for them," Harter said. "They are truly in a food desert, and by creating a community garden, we hope that they will eventually be able to grow their own food so they don't have to drive to Salt Lake City."

The hope is that the garden expands so the residents can sell some of the food as a
micro enterprise.

"It's always a tricky balance to how much we help them and all of our clients, because we don't want to create dependence," Harter said. "We want to create independence but also want to help them get out of their tough situations."

The Hike For Hunger has grown over the past five years.

"We had a little more than 600 people come last year, which is much different than the 200 that came the first year," Harter said. "More than that, this is an event that they can enjoy themselves without feeling obligated to come."

There will be an array of hikes available, as well as games, activities and food.

"We'll have the Motherlode Canyon Band playing live music, which is fabulous, and we'll have face painting and a bounce house for the kids and some adults if they want to do it," Harter said.

Deer Valley will prepare the food, which will be donated by Nicholas & Company, and there will be wine and beer for the adults.

"Park City Brewery will provide the beer and the wine is provided by Joel Gott Wine," Harter said.

This year, as was the case last year, a chairlift ride will give people access to some of the trails.

Progrexion, a credit repair company, donated money to help offset the cost of the chairlift, according to Harter.

"That has opened up access to all kinds of new trails at the top of Silver Lake, but it's also something for people to ride if they want to, especially if they don't want to hike," he said. "They can hop on the lift, and see the beauty of Deer Valley and ride the lift back down."

Harter is grateful for the partnership and support Deer Valley have given the Christian Center over the years.

"From Lessing Stern to Bob Wheaton and his staff, they are the cream of the crop when it comes to the ski market, and they offer the same dedication to us," Harter said. "They support many nonprofits in the community. So, to have their support and create an event in this location is, to me, a great combination. We are so appreciative."

Without Deer Valley, Harter and his staff wouldn't be able to host the Hike For Hunger, an event that is close to Harter's heart.

"I love bringing the community together to raise awareness to the issue," he said. "It's not a fun issue to talk about, and that's the reality. But to create an event that's exciting and family friendly is a fun way to bring attention to a very serious issue."

The Christian Center of Park City's annual Hike For Hunger will be held at Deer Valley on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 1:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Registration is $25 per person, or a bag full of groceries. For more information, visit http://www.ccofpc.org/hike-for-hunger-2016.

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