CROP Walks For Hunger Going Virtual For 2020
This year, the walk is virtual but the need continues to be very real.
Church World Services has announced that while the COVID-19 pandemic is causing many events to be canceled this year, its signature event — the annual CROP Walks to help end hunger, “one step at a time” — will go on, as virtual events.
Newtown Congregational Church Senior Pastor Matthew Crebbin is among those urging others to do the fundraising walk, which represents Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty.
“We need you! Don’t let hunger trick up people in need near and far,” Crebbin said this week. “Help us treat food scarcity as unacceptable in every community.”
Speaking to The Newtown Bee last week, the pastor said he and other local organizers are emphasizing the week before Halloween as a good time to walk for hunger.
“Between Monday, October 26, and Monday, November 1, we’d like to see people hike or walk as a way to help provide for those who are facing the challenges of hunger,” Crebbin said October 16. “Walkers are invited to use the Fairfield Hills loop and help us provide hunger reduction resources in Newtown as well as to communities around the world.
“As this is Halloween week,” he added, “walkers are encouraged to wear costumes if they would like.”
Newtown has long hosted CROP Walks in the autumn. In the past, participants have walked a planned course together. In recent years that course has been within Fairfield Hills.
To keep everyone safe and healthy this year, the walks will be virtual — or at least further apart that in past events. People should walk alone, with immediate family, or in small groups walking a safe distance apart. Walkers should follow social distancing guidelines.
To register as a walker, local residents should visit crophungerwalk.org/newtownct. The website also includes updated suggestions for walkers, including tips to draw attention to their planned walk, the purpose of their walk, and how to invite others to join and/or support the walk efforts.
Those who are unable to walk can even “Walk In Spirit,” according to the website.
Donors can support walkers of their choice, or the Newtown group as a whole. Donations can be done through the website above, or by visiting Newtown Congregational Church’s website, at newtownctchurch.org (go to the Donations page, and be sure to note CROP Walk on the memo line).
Checks can also be mailed to the church, at 14 West Street, Newtown CT 06470. Again, CROP Walk should be noted on the memo line of any check.
Supporters and walkers are asked to make time for reflection and prayer. Participants are encouraged to pray or meditate each day leading up to their walk, “for those who we serve together,” the website notes. “On your Walk Day, set aside a special time for quiet reflection for all those in need,” it further suggests.
The CROP Hunger Walk was started 50 years ago by a group of young people in Bismarck, North Dakota, who wanted to mobilize their community to fight global hunger. Today, the CROP Hunger Walk is a national movement raising funds for the global hunger-fighting work of Church World Service (CWS) and local hunger-fighting agencies.
In 2018, more than 800 events raised more than $8.3 million. The total raised in 2019 was closer to $7.6 million, according to the CWS website.
Spring CROP Walks were down, according to CWS, nearly $1 million this year. At least 25 percent of funds raised through the walks support local hunger programs, Crebbin pointed out October 19.
“It is urgent that this fall we continue to raise funds to provide permanent solutions to hunger, poverty, displacement, and disaster,” the agency said via press release.
With that in mind, CWS is urging walk-planning sessions to be modified so that team meetings can be done virtually; that materials be dropped off or delivered safely to participants, or downloaded from resources.crophungerwalk.org; and everyone planning to fundraise this season set up their own page and register online.
Organizers expect as many as 700 communities nationwide will join together this season for interfaith CROP Walks.