Enjoying the scenery for a good cause | ParkRecord.com

Enjoying the scenery for a good cause

Throughout the years, the Christian Center has become an important humanitarian resource for Park City and Summit County through its food pantry and other programs.

It recently opened a food pantry in Heber, which extended the nonprofit organization’s reach into Wasatch County.

In order to maintain its food pantries and raise awareness about hunger, the center will host the 2013 Hike for Hunger at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge on Saturday, Sept. 14.

Unlike other fundraisers, the Hike for Hunger doesn’t require guests to dress in black ties and evening gowns, said Rob Harter, executive director of the Christian Center.

"There are so many great nonprofit organizations in town and we didn’t want to just offer another dinner or silent auction, as great as those events are," Harter told The Park Record. "We wanted to do something different for the people here, and that’s when we came up with Hike for Hunger.

"I mean, who doesn’t want to hike in Park City during the fall? It’s a beautiful time and the temperatures are down," he said. "We thought this would be a great springboard to raise awareness about what the needs are."

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Participants will meet at the Snow Park Lodge and choose from three hikes that are labeled after the difficulty ratings on ski slopes — green, blue and black.

"The green trail is about a mile long and a blue trail that is about 2.5 miles and the black trail is six miles," Hartner said. "They will all start and finish at the same place."

The event will also feature food, drinks, bounce houses and other attractions.

"There will be clowns, Face Painting by Samantha and live music performed by Patwa Reggae Band," Hartner said. "So, even if people don’t want to hike, they can still participate."

Hike for Hunger will not only help raise money and bring food into the pantry, but also raise awareness of hunger, Harter said.

"When I tell people I run a food pantry in Park City, they look at me strangely as if they are saying, ‘Why does Park City need a food pantry?’ because in their eyes, the very idea of having a food pantry and Park City doesn’t quite go together," Hartner said. "But in reality, Park City has a unique situation, because we have the skiing and snowboard industry crowd and the hotels and resorts require people to work as housekeepers, and such, and often live on minimum wage in a very expensive place.

"Some of these people, even if they have a couple of part-time jobs or a full-time job still find it hard to live here," he said. "Recent studies have shown that 25 percent of the Park City population is Latino, and many of them have those resort jobs and there is often a need for food to supplement their income."

In addition, the Christian Center wanted to hook up with an international partner.

"We wanted to work with an organization that would remind us that we live in a global community and some of the issues facing the world are quite daunting," Hartner said. "So we partnered with International Crisis Aid, which benefits Ethiopian women who have been victims of human trafficking."

"A portion of the money we raise will be donated to the International Crisis Aid and that money will help the women develop job skills, go through rehabilitation and help them start a new and independent life," Hartner said. "This will help them get them out of a lifestyle that they entered in because they felt they had no other choice to help their families."

Hartner said several sponsors, including Deer Valley Resort, Vine Lore, Powerade, the Dancing Llama, Nicholas & Company Food Distribution and CHG Healthcare, have made this year’s Hike for Hunger possible.

"Also, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation gave us a great donation that will allow anybody who wants to hike [to] hike," he said. "We are asking for a $25 suggested registration donation or $50 for a family of up to five. But people can also bring a bag of nonperishable food items in lieu of the registration donation, and if people can’t afford to donate anything, the support form the Sorenson Legacy will allow them to just come and enjoy the hikes."

The Christian Center of Park City will host a hike for hunger on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge at 3 p.m. Registration is $25 for adults, $10 for children and $50 for a family up to five hikers. The Christian Center will also accept bags of nonperishable food items as registration. For more information, visit http://www.ccofpc.org.