With music from John Zipperer and Friends to pump them up and the blessing of a cool, sunny day to motivate them, more than a hundred walkers from 15 valley churches or no church at all gathered on Sunday at to help Church World Service and Valley Interfaith Council to combat hunger around the world and here in the Patch. The two agencies have been partnering for the CROP Walk for 36 years.
When the walk originated in 1947, CROP was an acronym for Christian Rural Overseas Program, an effort by Church World Service to help Midwest farmers to share surplus grain with post-war Europe. Now, while walkers variously interpret the letters as Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty or Community Reaching Out to People, the official position of the agency is CROP is no longer an acronym but a traditional title.
Sunday’s walkers brought checks or pledges to sponsor their 5K walk around Sherman Oaks (no one opted for the 10K run), resulting in over $16,000 raised on the day of the event with more donations expected to keep rolling in.
The mostly senior volunteers had more spunk than I, who was not about to try to follow them on the three-mile route. Even the tots made better time than I did. Among the churches represented were several from our Patch, who happily talked about the cause on video. Meet our neighbors from Church of the Chimes, and
Valley Interfaith Council, which will receive 25 percent of the funds raised, runs 11 food pantries in the valley, including , about which I have written in this column many times. (The pantry will celebrate its 27th Interfaith Service of Thanksgiving this year at in North Hollywood on Nov. 23.)
Church World Service provides help all over the world and in the U.S. without prejudice as to faith or creed, eschewing proselytizing.
“Our work is specifically humanitarian aid in nature and development,” CWS regional director Julie Brumana assured me. “We are Christians serving as Christians, but we are not there to save souls, we’re saving lives.”
Two thousand national CROP walks raise $14-17 million annually. Each walk donates 25 percent to local anti-hunger efforts, while international support is given to pre-existing “grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts.” CWS also provides emergency relief supplies in the event of natural disasters here at home.
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