CWS combats poverty with fall hunger walks

September 16, 2007

Global humanitarian agency Church World Service (CWS) announced that it expects some 2,000 communities to join in hunger walks in the coming year under the banner of CROP: Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty. This month marks the 60th anniversary of CROP – the community hunger appeal of CWS – and the beginning of the CROP Hunger Walk season in the United States in which tens of thousands of people will sacrifice a few hours to raise money and show solidarity with impoverished people struggling to become self-sufficient. The CROP Walkers’ motto is “We walk because they walk!”


CROP Hunger Walks are unique in that proceeds benefit domestic and international poverty-reducing efforts. “It still surprises some Americans that there are people here in the richest nation in the world who go to bed hungry because they cannot afford to buy food,” says the Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director and CEO of CWS. “These local CROP Hunger Walks ... raise awareness about hunger and give people a way to help both in their own communities and around the world.”


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture report “Household Food Security in the United States, 2005,” 11% of U.S. homes did not have access “to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members” at least some time during the year.


The first-ever CROP Walks took place in the late 1960s. Over the decades since, more than 5 million walkers have raised millions to fight hunger. Up to a quarter of the money donated to CROP Hunger Walk is returned to the community where it was raised to help local soup kitchens and food pantries. “These walkers and the food pantries and soup kitchens they help support are a blessing. Together, they represent the caring hands of a community reaching out to help neighbors – and often strangers – who are in crisis or whose way is hard,” says Rev. McCullough.


Globally, CWS supports a broad range of poverty-fighting projects in some 80 countries, including digging wells in African and Palestinian villages, developing programs in Latin America to help children who are victims of violence and sexual exploitation, introducing income programs for Roma families in Serbia, and providing help for poor women in rural Bangladesh. To find out about a CROP Hunger Walk near you or for help organizing your own CROP Hunger Walk, call your CWS Regional Office at 888-CWS-CROP (888-297-2767). The UMC is a member denomination of CWS.

— Lesley Crosson (CWS)