Pack a snack — or two or three — for the Christian Center’s Hike for Hunger
No matter the trail, it’s always a good idea to pack a snack for yourself when you hike.
This Saturday, though, the Christian Center of Park City is asking hikers at its eighth annual Hike for Hunger to bring a little extra for families that struggle to put food on the table, much less Clif bars in their backpacks.
Check-ins for the event are set to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley Resort. A $45 donation that goes toward running the event and stocking the Christian Center’s food pantries secures entry for adults.
For the first time in the fundraiser’s eight-year history, though, kids under 18 can participate for free.
“We’re trying to raise awareness about the fact that there’s hunger in this community,” said Rob Harter, executive director of the Christian Center.
A number of metrics are commonly used to get a picture of food insecurity, such as free and reduced lunch rates in school districts. Nearly a quarter of Summit County public school students and more than a third in Wasatch County met the federal standard to qualify for free and reduced lunches in 2014, according to the Utah State Office of Education. Thirty-seven percent of students statewide qualified.
Park City, by several measures, is one of the wealthiest cities its size in the country. Harter said that its severe wealth inequality can reinforce an ignorance of the very real issue of hunger in the region.
“Particularly in Park City, people are surprised that there are that many people that could be considered low income (in the community),” Harter said. “You have people who have a lot of money and you have people that have a lot of poverty, and there’s not a lot in between.
“That’s kind of the unique challenge of Park City is that middle class, if you will, is not represented very well in the community, so you have those extremes here.”
Harter also said it’s the responsibility of businesses and communities to mitigate hunger in the Wasatch Back by raising wages and increasing educational and job training efforts.
The Christian Center, in addition to its clothing thrift store and other services, runs food pantries in Park City and Heber where families can stop for supply runs twice a month. To do so, the organization visits area grocery stores and relieves them of foodstuffs that might otherwise be discarded.
Harter estimates that around 1,300 families visit the pantries.
Part of the Hike for Hunger’s intent is also to raise awareness of food waste — instead of just throwing things out, Harter said, people can put them to good use by donating them or learning to compost as part of the goal of achieving zero food waste.
The event itself begins at 3 p.m., and the Christian Center and Deer Valley are offering multiple ways to savor the last of Park City’s summer weather on the trails — a half-mile hike to the base of the St. Regis and back, a 1.5-mile trip around the resort and a 3.5-mile trek around Deer Crest on foot are three of the options. Participants who want to stay off the ground altogether are free to bring their mountain bikes or just relax on the Silver Lake Express chairlift.
A $500 contribution, meanwhile, will get donors an overnight stay at the St. Regis.
A lively scene at the base area is set to greet hikers and bikers upon their return with food, drinks, live music and various kid-friendly activities.
Interested participants can pre-register at the Christian Center’s website or at the venue the day of.
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Recycle Utah readies Dumpster Days and the 100 Mile Meal to educate the community about sustainability.