The statistics on hunger in America are staggering. As the world’s greatest food-producing nation, children and adults face food insecurity, defined as “being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food,” across our country. In 2016, 41 million people struggled with hunger in the United States, including 13 million children and five million senior adults. Those numbers break down to 15.6 million U.S. households suffering from food insecurity equaling 12.7% of households. Those who are food insecure are often forced to skip meals, eat less at meals, buy cheap non-nutritional food and possibly feed their children, but not themselves. In an effort to fight hunger locally and globally, the CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) movements began in 1947, when Midwest farm families wanted to share their grain with hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia. Although the group has grown on a local and global basis, they have remained focused on assisting those who are food insecure.
This year, the CROP Walk Winston-Salem-Forsyth County celebrates its 37thwalk to end hunger. Carol Wilson, chairperson for the CROP Walk, said, “The CROP Walk is a collaboration between Church World Service, which is involved on a worldwide spectrum, Crisis Control Ministry and Sunnyside Ministry, which are both local organizations. The proceeds from the walk are distributed with 75% going to Church World Services, which helps in disaster response, refugee assistance and helping areas in other countries gain access to clean water, to mention a few of their focuses. Locally, Crisis Control and Sunnyside Ministry provide financial assistance to families who are having problems paying for their utilities and in emergency situations. Both groups have food pantries, too; the main difference is that Crisis Control has a full pharmacy to fill prescriptions, and Sunnyside serves only the areas in the zip codes 27127 and 27107.” Last year, our local CROP Walk was third in the nation for funds raised at nearly $144,000, with 1,515 walkers participating. Texas Pete and Flow are the lead sponsors of the CROP Walk again this year.
“We Walk Because They Have to Walk”
Those involved in CROP Walk have a saying for the reason that they walk: “We walk because they have to walk,” meaning that those in other countries who have to walk sometimes miles and miles for food or water are the inspiration for those who choose to participate in the CROP Walk. “Giving to the CROP Walk is an investment in both our local and global community,” said Carol. “By giving someone a helping hand, you give them the ability to help themselves and others. This year’s walk has a little bit different route than in years past due to the amount of construction downtown. We will start the two miles at Bailey Park and follow the Long Branch Trail. We encourage anyone who can walk to come, whether you are an individual or part of a team. We have many faith-based groups who come and walk with us. While we want to raise funds for our cause, with each year, we also want to raise awareness and educate people about the problem of hunger locally and across the world.”
Once again, this year’s walk was kicked off by a Lunch and Learn at Home Moravian Church, where team leaders were given packets with information and encouraged to recruit people for their teams. Preregistration takes place the week before the walk, October 15th-19th, 2018, at Crisis Control Ministry at 200 East 10thStreet, Winston-Salem, NC, with the walk taking place on October 21st, with same day registration beginning at 1:30pm followed by the walk at 2:30pm.
“Before the walk, we have activities scheduled, as well as education stations for children. Throughout the walk, we will have water breaks, and after the walk, we will have snow cones and fruit available. The CROP Walk is a great way to help those who are in your own community dealing with hunger and address issues a world away too,” said Carol.