The sun is in their hearts
When people in impoverished countries have to walk for food, they have to go no matter the weather. It was in that spirit that about 40 people braved the rain and chill Sunday to do the 44th annual Christian Rural Overseas Program (CROP) Walk.
Starting from Washington Central Park, people of all ages and denominations traversed close to four miles in the misting rain.
Amber Linnenkamp, Kyle Basten and Kelsey Maize, all members of the United Methodist Church youth group huddled under umbrellas while waiting for the walk to start. Basten said that all three of them had gone to a Washington High School band competition the day before and had gotten home at 4 a.m.
“We’re doing it for the kids,” Maize said.
Linnenkamp said that she had watched the weather and expected it to rain. Basten said that he expected to be tired during the walk. None regretted the decision to join the walk.
The event was part of an effort to raise money for famine relief around the world. On the second Sunday in October, area churches organize a walk as a way of showing solidarity with the world’s hungry.
Ed Colby, an old hand at the walk, said that in the 35 plus years he has been involved, he has had to walk in worse weather than the small amount of rain that was falling.
“It’s not the first time, but it is kind of fun,” he said. “We walk if it rains or pours. We don’t walk if it is lightning. It is empathy for people walking rain or shine for their food. It is kind of fun to get out when it is a little harder to do it than other times.”
Bailey Anderson, daughter of Steve and Rita Anderson, said she was the recruiter for Ainsworth Community Church. She said that she had made sure people in the church were signed up for the event.
“I got a very good response,” she said. “Our congregation was mainly monetary donations.”
She said her congregation had contributed $475.
Anderson said she had been participating in the walk for as long as she could remember. She said that when she was an infant, her mother had pushed her in a stroller through the route. At age 16, Anderson said that she has participated 16 years.
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.