CROP Hunger Walk raises funds for food, development
An enthusiastic crowd of balloon-wielding walkers gathered at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church on Orchard Village Road Monday morning to participate in the annual Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty (CROP) Hunger Walk. Supported by pledges from friends and neighbors, more than 100 members of the local community set off on a 5k circuit through Newhall in the only such event held on Labor Day.
Their efforts will combine with those of other CROP walkers nationwide to raise more than 17 million dollars this year. Those funds will be put toward hunger relief and development initiatives in some 80 countries.
The local walk is organized annually by the Interfaith Council and raised upwards of $5,500 this year, with more expected as online and late contributions come in. Rev. Canon Lynn Jay, Vicar of St. Stephen's Episcopal and chair of the council, says that 25 percent of the proceeds will be dedicated for use in local food pantries.
Starting in 1969 in Bismarck, ND, the CROP walk concept quickly caught on and spread to other communities. Organized nationally by Church World Service, funds from CROP walks help to provide seed, tools, water systems, training, and micro-enterprise loans to make it possible for communities to meet their own needs. Today there are 2,000 CROP walk events across the country.
Jay says the walk is also important for its symbolic effect.
"Walking in groups as we did with banners and shirts raises the awareness of the community," she says.