Left Justifed: Help walk for the hungry Oct. 21

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Another year, another CROP Hunger Walk. And I know you are just itchin’ to stretch those legs. Specifically, this will be the 21st Rockford Area CROP Hunger Walk, which raises money for Church World Service, one of the best (in my humble opinion) international aid groups. The walk does share 25 percent of the take with local food pantries and the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

The CROP Walk is Sunday, Oct. 21, 2 p.m. step-off from the Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St. It is hoped 400 people can raise $40,000 to help local hunger programs and overseas relief.

I know a lot of you are thinking this is “just one more walk,” and you will be correct, except it does have a rich history in this community.

CROP stands for “Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty” and was started here in the Midwest right after World War II by farmers as a way to raise food and share their crops with Europe.

Now, donations are raised through cash sponsorships solicited by the walkers themselves, based on their completion of the 4-mile walk (there is a 1-mile for us oldsters). And the money goes around the world to help, not only in emergencies, but for long-term aid and development.

If you want to walk, you can just show up and make a donation. To pick up a sponsor sheet (so you can hit up your family and friends), just drop into JustGoods, 201 Seventh St., through Saturday, anytime from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or contact one of 43 congregations and businesses walking.

CWS is celebrating their 60th year of operation. Founded in 1946, Church World Service is the relief, development and refugee assistance ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations in the United States. Working in partnership with interfaith organizations in some 80 countries, CWS meets human needs and fosters self-reliance for all whose way is hard. They have a great record of putting the most money raised directly into their programs.

Local food banks and pantries will receive 25 percent of the money raised to help feed hungry people. The remaining 75 percent will go through Church World Service (celebrating 60 years) and other international relief agencies to provide food and disaster relief in more than 70 countries.

Sponsors for this year’s Rockford Area CROP Walk include ARAMARK, Coca-Cola, Down to Earth Dietetics, Ingenium Technologies, Northern Public Radio, the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Riverfront Museum Park, Rockford Urban Ministries, Eating Experts and The 320 Store.

Meanwhile, 60 communities across the Chicago/Northern Illinois area will help stomp out hunger in annual CROP Walks, including Rockford’s. Participants expect to raise awareness about hunger issues and more than $800,000 in funds to provide food and resources to hungry people in their own communities and around the world.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

from the Oct. 17-23, 2007, issue

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