Church World Service expects more than 2,000 communities to join in hunger walks in the coming year under the banner of CROP: Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty. August marked the 61st anniversary of CROP--the community hunger appeal of Church World Service--and the beginning of the fall CROP Hunger Walks season, in which tens of thousands of people in communities across the U.S. will sacrifice a few hours (and a blister or two) to raise money and show solidarity with impoverished people struggling to become self-sufficient.
In what has become an annual tradition in the thousands of communities that participate, an interfaith, multi-cultural collection of CROP walkers encourage friends, neighbors, colleagues, merchants and places of worship to donate dollars to support their participation in walks of up to 10 km. Participants, many with readily identifiable red and white signs, range in age from babies in strollers to seniors--and even the occasional jogger.
CROP Hunger Walks are unique in that proceeds benefit both domestic and international poverty-reducing efforts. Up to a quarter of the money donated to CROP Hunger Walk is returned to the community where it was raised to help local soup kitchens and food pantries.
The first-ever CROP Hunger Walks took place in the late 1960s. Over the decades since, more than 5 million walkers have raised millions to fight hunger. Here in the Roanoke Valley, there have been 400 to 600 participants each year in the annual CROP Hunger Walk. Many members of FPC raise money and participate in the Roanoke Valley CROP Hunger Walk. To learn more and to register to walk, visit the website of Church World Service (www.churchworldservice.org) and choose “CROP Hunger Walks” from the main menu.