CROP HUNGER WALKS ADDRESS HUNGER, POVERTY NATIONWIDE
NEW YORK / ELKHART, IN - Sept 6 - The humanitarian agency Church World Service (CWS) today announced the start of its 2006 season of CROP Hunger Walk community fundraising events that bring together people of all faiths to raise money for local hunger-fighting agencies as well as for the international relief and development efforts of CWS.
The Walks, an outgrowth of Church World Service efforts to help feed starving people in the devastated post World War II Europe by collecting and shipping grain contributed by farmers in the Midwest, are the only walks that collect donations for both a local and an international cause.
In 2005, more than 2000 communities across the country participated in 1,708 CROP Walks. Over the past 20 years, CROP Hunger Walkers have raised more than $270 million.
Twenty-five percent of all money raised stays in the local communities to help stock local food pantries that provide emergency assistance to families in those neighborhoods. The balance is used to help the relief, development and refugee assistance agency in its efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty around the world.
The interfaith effort now attracts thousands of volunteers from local churches, synagogues, and mosques who walk--or are pushed in wheelchairs or baby carriages--distances up to six miles to help fund hunger relief.
Some people have walked the CROP route in their communities every year for decades and new people from different faith communities join the Walks each year. In last year's round of Walks, a twelve-year-old in Iowa raised 25 percent of all donations received by his local CROP Walk and in Connecticut, a walker celebrated a 50th birthday by donating to the local Walk.
Church World Service supplies emergency relief throughout the world when disaster strikes, but a key focus of CROP Hunger Walks-in which participants receive donations for walking--is simple: painful, persistent hunger.
According to the 2004 United States Department of Agriculture report, "Household Food Security in the United States," 38.2 million Americans live in households that suffer directly from hunger and food insecurity, including nearly 14 million children.
These local CROP Hunger Walks remind us not to neglect neighbors just a few blocks away who may be going to bed hungry even as we include victims of major disasters around the world--from the Indian Ocean tsunami to Pakistan earthquake-in our giving.
In addition to its hunger fighting efforts, CWS provides relief when disasters strike in the United States. The agency is a first-responder in domestic disasters, such as last year's Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. CWS currently is working with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild homes in the Gulf Coast and also has helped to start camps for children and youth-at-ris k and organized "care for the caregivers" workshops for traumatized clergy and relief personnel working in the storm damaged areas.
In Indonesia, CWS is helping residents of Banda Aceh rebuild their homes and livelihoods after the tsunami. In Pakistan, CWS is working with the remote populations affected by last October's earthquake by providing health clinics and psycho-social supports to women and children who still have no place to call home. CWS Vietnam has brought water and sanitation to schools and villages in the mountains. And in the vast Chaco region of South America, CWS is working with indigenous populations who have been forced from their ancestral lands.
Here in the United States soup kitchens and food pantries from one end of the nation to the other are working valiantly to provide groceries and meals for families, some of whom are just one paycheck away from hunger. CROP Walkers will be taking to the streets in towns and villages and cities throughout the country over the next few months to help them fulfill their mission.
Local CROP Hunger Walks can be found by visiting www.churchworldservice.org /CROP or by calling 888-CWS-CROP.
Lesley Crosson , (212) 870-2676, firstname.lastname@example.org Jan Dragin (24/7), (781) 925-1526, email@example.com