A CROP Walk was scheduled today in Durham, North Carolina and participants (who have reported $60,780.10 in online and offline gifts) were to gather on the Duke campus to begin their group walk. If you’re not familiar with CROP, “CROP Hunger Walks are community-based walk events held in cities and towns across the United States raising funds to support the global mission of Church World Service, a faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster.” Last year, CROP celebrated their 50th anniversary.
The Durham/Duke organizers, while asking participants and sponsors NOT to gather today due to the COVID pandemic, did not cancel the event. Instead, they introduced the VIRTUAL CROP Hunger Walk. They are asking folks to continue to seek sponsors, schedule individual nature hikes, look for volunteer opportunities, and get the message out via social media.
When I was in seventh grade (1977) I participated in a CROP Walk. The memories of my participation in that event have stuck with me: the friends I walked with, what I accomplished (I walked 16.1 miles out of a planned 20 miles hike), and the difference I hope I made to individuals through the money I raised.
In 2001, our church participated in a 10k (just over 6 miles) CROP Walk and I signed up my son and myself to walk. He was very excited and we solicited friends and family to sponsor him for each kilometer he walked. I kept a journal of the event that I shared with our sponsors.
Sunday, October 7, 2001 – Mother and child walked 6 miles to help stop world hunger. Child begins to complain after ½ mile.
Mile marker 1: Child asks about rest area.
Mile marker 2: Child announces he can’t make it to rest area.
Mile marker 3: Rest area at Veterans Park in Chelsea, MI. Child races across park, swings, jumps, and tumbles in playground area.
Mile marker 4: Mother and child stop to rest because child can’t walk another step. The wind takes hold of his CROP balloon and blows it across a large field. Child runs faster than a cheetah to retrieve wayward balloon. Returns to 4 mile marker and announces he can’t go another step.
Mile marker 5: Crabby mother shares with complaining child that she has blisters, doesn’t want to walk any farther either, and doesn’t want to hear any complaining. Explains that when she went on CROP Walk 25 years ago, it was a 20 mile walk. Child is unimpressed and responds, “Well I FEEL like I’ve walked 20 miles.”
Mother limps, child complains last ½ mile.
Monday, October 8, 2001 – Mother has blisters on bottoms of feet and sore shins. Child is fine.
Tuesday, October 9, 2001 – Mother has sore hips and her blisters pop. Child asks if we can go on the Boy Scout fall color hike on the upcoming weekend. “It’s only five miles.”
Food has been on my mind this week. Aside from all the Facebook posts about quarantine and isolation snacking, I’ve had a few chats with extended family about making do with what is in our pantries, as well as what is not available on the grocery shelves. The truth is, we have plenty to eat – even if it’s not always what we want to eat. It certainly has made me think about people, both locally and internationally, that don’t have enough to eat. It’s important now as much as ever, if not more than ever, to support organizations that help others. As my brother mentioned recently, there is ALWAYS someone less fortunate than ourselves. Let’s think about them and reach out to them. For everyone you know and pray for, say a prayer for someone you don’t know. Make a donation if you can. Make a phone call to someone who needs to hear a caring voice. And let’s keep focused on the big picture – helping others get through whatever it is that they need to get through. In doing so, we really help ourselves.