CROP Walk changes routes
As the annual Christian Rural Overseas Program (CROP) Walk entered its 45th year, several changes were seen, but the overall spirit of the event remained the same.
Close to 90 people of all ages and denominations gathered in the St. James Church parking lot Sunday afternoon — instead of Central Park in the morning as it has been in years past — ready to hit the KeWash Trail for their three-mile walk. Once the walk was completed, volunteers lined up outside the St. James School gym to assemble food packages for Kids Against Hunger.
“This year the hope is that we do this and then do a little extra for Kids Against Hunger,” the Rev. Jim Stiles said. “We decided to do that and have a meal afterwards.”
Washington CROP Walk treasurer Lori Bauer said that the walk is to help raise money for the hungry throughout the United States and the world. She said the walk was not as long as in past years, but she hoped it was meaningful for the people attending.
Don and Sandy Fields, the Southeast Central Iowa directors for Kids Against Hunger, said that he expected about 100 people to work on six lines to package a rice-based soy mix to send to the hungry throughout the world. He said the goal was to package about 15,000.
Sharon Hahn turned out to the event with her daughter Paula Celania and grandson Joe. Paula and Joe are visiting Washington from Dallas, Texas, and said that they regularly participate in charitable events. Hahn attends church at West Chester Methodist and decided to walk in the CROP Walk with other churchgoers.
“It’s always great to help a good cause,” Paula Celania said. ‘We do other charity things in Texas; in fact, we just did a Kids Against Cancer thing this last week.”
The Rev. Jason Collier from Ainsworth and Crawfordsville churches brought his entire family to the event. As they walked along the trail, he pushed a baby stroller with two children inside. His wife carried another child.
“We have an 11-month-old, a 2-year-old, a 6-year-old, an 11-year-old, a 13-year-old, and a 16-year-old exchange student from Brazil and we are all here to support the CROP Drive,” he said.
New to the area, Collier said that this was the first time he had been on the walk. He said in the past he had done a 30-hour famine to aid hunger, but had never been on a CROP Walk before. He said that the churches support the drive and he and his family wanted to do their part to help the drive.
Steve Anderson walked the path carrying his first grandchild, Will. He proudly said Will is y weeks old. Anderson had been involved with the CROP Walk for about eight years.
“He’s not going to remember his first CROP Walk, because he is a little sleepy,” Anderson said.
Stiles said that he did not know for sure how much money had been raised, but estimated it would be about $4,000.
Over the past 19 years, the walk has raised over $100,000 for the needy. Twenty-five percent of that money stays in Washington for local food banks such as the one at HACAP and those at the churches in Ainsworth and West Chester. Organizer Lori Bauer was out of town Sunday and unavailable for comment.
The CROP walk began nationally in 1948 when grain was given to European countries recovering from the war. Washington started participating in the early 1970s. The Church World Service is the organization that manages the relief efforts abroad.