PDT Staff Writer
The annual Scioto County CROP Hunger Walk will be celebrating its 22nd year in operation this fall, as they they take to the streets of Portsmouth to feed the hungry.
The walk is under the guidance of its parent organization, Church World Service, and they raise not only canned food, but money that goes towards local food pantries and third world countries. The money raised by the walkers is split and a quarter of all money raised goes to local food pantries, while the remaining amount goes out of the country.
Since their creation in 1991, the Scioto County CROP Hunger Walkers have raised more than $611,870 and have had more than 6,175 walkers participate. The Scioto County CROP Hunger Walk recently held a registration day for walkers, but registration will remain open until the walk to encourage locals to register with local churches or by themselves.
When CROP began in 1947, CROP was an acronym for the Christian Rural Overseas Program. Its primary mission was to help Midwest farm families to share their grain with hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia. Today, they have outgrown the acronym, but retain it as the historic name of the program. CROP Hunger Walks help to provide food and water as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs. From seeds and tools, to wells and water systems, to technical training, CROP helps countries develop the materials that most of us find easily in the United States.
“Not everyone has a car to hop into to go to the grocery store, work or wherever they need to go. It could be to work, to get water or to go to the market, they have to walk,” CROP Hunger Walk volunteer and secretary Carrie Massie said. “We also walk if it rains. We walk for those in third world countries, and if it is raining, they still have to walk to get where they are going. They don’t have a choice if they are in need of something, they have to go.”
Massie has been involved with CROP Hunger Walk committee since 1995 and walked in it prior to that. She has been involved in every walk since and loves being part of the organization.
“It’s a fun thing to do and good for families to take part in. It helps out a lot of people locally,” Massie said. “It’s very important to take care of each other. It is how I was raised and what I believe, and this is a good way to do it. I feel strongly supportive of the walk and hope we reach and surpass our goal of $30,000 this year. It is so hard for families to do in the circumstances we have in our economy. Parents are struggling, but they can get some help from the food pantries and not feel ashamed by it. It just gets harder and harder for working people and I just want them to know there are places that help.”
The Walk will benefit nine local pantries: Presbyterian, Second Presbyterian, Pleasant Green Baptist, United Methodist, Builders, Minford United Methodist, The Homeless Shelter, ’s House and Cornerstone United Methodist.
The walk takes place at Tracy Park and ends at Tracy Park. The trek follows Chillicothe to Second Street, goes down to the Ohio River, loops around to Front Street and goes through the Shawnee State campus before heading back to the park. The general walk is 3.5 miles, but an alternative route, of one mile, is set for those who don’t want to take the entire 3.5 miles. Walkers will be able to enjoy drinks and fruit to the classic rock and roll band, Doug Parsley and the Crop Walkers, after the trek has been completed. Those walkers who also raise at least $30 will be given a free Crop Hunger Walk t-shirt.
Local Organizations can participate by buying sponsorships with the Scioto County CROP. The sponsorship costs $300 and gets them a mention on the back of the CROP t-shirts. Deadline for sponsorship submissions are Sept. 15 and interested businesses can contact Carolyn Pettit through George Pettit’s office, by phone at 354-1434 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Businesses can donate however much they feel comfortable with, but must meet the $300 price to be placed on the t-shirt.
People interested in getting involved should contact Shannon Lawson at 351-3295 or Elsie Shabazz at 351-3300. If people would like to walk, but do so out of a group, can register as a “concerned citizen.” More information can be found by checking out the local website, www.sciotocrop.org. The website has registration information, contact information and a live announcement of money raised, which currently states a balance of $936 raised for the fall walk to date.