In my opinion, 1947 was a good year for many hungry families. It was then that the Christian Rural Overseas Program was founded. The program’s primary mission was to help Midwest farm families share their grain with hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia. Beginning in 1969, the Church World Services organization began community walks to assist the hungry. CROP Hunger Walks are considered the oldest form of “walking for a cause.”
The great characteristic of these Hunger Walks is that many people in our community and worldwide are helped with the funds raised by sponsored walkers. Locally, 25 percent of the money goes directly to Berkeley County’s CCAP/Loaves and Fishes. CCAP/Loaves and Fishes is a 501c(3) organization that helps individuals and families with needs that range from rental, prescription and dental assistance to helping over 300 families per month with food boxes.
Because no administrative costs are taken out of the local funds, all money can be used by CCAP/Loaves and Fishes to assist those in need. The remainder of the money raised in the walk provides food, water and further resources for other global communities. Those resources can be as simple as seeds, tools, micro-loans, gardening assistance, technical training – whatever has been identified as a specific need.
Growing, harvesting, and preparing food safely requires clean water — something most of us take for granted. Others are not so fortunate. A video provided by CWS shows women in Kenya who spent 11 hours every day walking to obtain potable water. With funding, the locals built a sand dam that trapped water, thus decreasing the time walking for water to 30 minutes. A local CROP Hunger Walk had been held in the past, and three years ago, the community event was revived. The Rev. Mark Mooney is chairman of the walk, with the assistance of the Revs. Lloyd McCanna and Al Clipp.
Anyone can come Oct. 6 to join in walking to help others. The route, which features snack and water stops, begins and ends at War Memorial Park in Martinsburg. Registration is at 1:30 p.m., with the walk beginning at 2 p.m.
For those who think they may have difficulty making the entire route, you can catch a ride in the “Blister Bus” driven by the Rev. Clipp and staffed by nurse Deb Mooney. For more information, call the Rev. Mooney at 304-263-0342 or visit cwsglobal.org/crop-hunger-walk/faq.
If you cannot participate on Oct. 6, but would like to help, please sponsor another person who is walking or you drop off a donation at Susquehanna Bank on Maple Avenue in Martinsburg, to the attention of Sandra Walker.
– Melanie Files of Martinsburg
is a CROP Hunger Walk volunteer