Young and old walk to feed the hungry
By Shavonne Potts
Polly Deal has never in 31 years missed an opportunity to participate in the annual CROP walk, which raises funds and awareness for hunger relief agencies.
This is the 31st year of the walk. The 81-year-old attended Sunday’s walk with her church, Shiloh Reformed.
CROP ó or Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty ó is sponsored by the Rowan-Salisbury Ministerial Association.
Essentially people from different faiths, cultures and ages walk together on a 3-mile route. The walkers and sometimes runners can obtain sponsors or raise money that goes to support local and national agencies.
Twenty-five percent of the funds raised will stay in Rowan County to support Rowan Helping Ministries and Meals on Wheels.
The balance goes to Church World Service, which serves some 80 countries with relief ministries. Church World Service is a cooperative ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations working to eradicate hunger and poverty by providing sustainable self-help and development, disaster relief and refugee assistance around the world.
Deal said she remembers when the walk was 10 miles and stretched toward Spencer.
Now the full distance is much shorter, but the cause is still far reaching.
“It’s a wonderful cause,” Deal said.
She said the large crowds had dwindled over the years and have recently picked back up. She believes because more people have heard about the cause and want to help.
“We are all here for a purpose and that is to help each other. There’s a need to help,” she said.
Deal said she likes that some of the money raised actually stays in Rowan County.
Mark Eagle remembers hearing about the CROP walk when he was a child. He’s always participated in some way through raising funds, however this year was his first time walking.
He extended the trek to his Boy Scouts of Troop 448 to join him.
“It’s important because it’s a way of sharing what we have for those who don’t,” he said.
Eagle said the funds also provide money to teach people to plant crops and provides families with clean, safe water. He also likes that money goes toward local agencies.
Eagle attends Coburn Memorial United Methodist Church.
Eyleen Moreno, 12, attended the walk with her church family and her biological family.
She heard about the walk through Sacred Heart Catholic Church. It was the first time she participated.
It was important for her and her family to participate, she said.
Lauren West and her youth group from Central United Methodist Church in Spencer raised funds and had about eight teens walking.
“I think it’s very important for our community, especially for our youth group. It makes them feel important in the fight against hunger world wide,” West said.
“It makes us feel like we are making a difference,” said Catherine Crawford, of Central United Methodist Church.
Last year about 148 people participated, and this there were an estimated 161 people and roughly 13 different church groups.
Participants were treated to hot dogs and other refreshments after the walk.