CROP Walk unites participants in bringing about hunger relief
Local social service agencies say they have seen a huge increase over the last three years in the number of people seeking food assistance.
To fight that problem,more than 500 people are expected to participate Sunday in the 38th CROP Hunger Walk around Ann Arbor to raise funds to help local agencies.
The walk begins and ends at the Bethlehem United Church of Christ at 423 S.Fourth Ave. in Ann Arbor, and participants have the option of a one mile walk or a five mile walk, both with a send-off ceremony at 2 p.m.
"From the very beginning the walk has been an important and unifying community event," said Bill Alt, program coordinator for the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. "It has been a powerful witness for change by bringing people from all faiths, beliefs, and values together across their differences."
Last year CROP walkers in Washtenaw County raised more than $52,000 and an additional $1,900 in local grants.
About 75 percent of the funds raised go to support worldwide relief, such as Heifer International, Catholic Relief Services and Islamic American Relief Agency. The other 25 percent directly supports local groups including SOS Community Crisis Center, Hope Clinic, Avalon Housing, Growing Hope and Packard Health.
Registration starts at 1 p.m. at the Bethlehem U.C.C. or you can register online.
Alt says that the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice organized the first CROP Hunger Walk in 1975 as a response by the faith community in the county to the war in Vietnam. Members recognized that hunger and food insecurity were effects of war and conflict and began the CROP Walk for the purpose of bringing about hunger awareness and relief.
"In a time when there is so much division and people feel disconnected, the CROP Walk is an excellent reminder that we are better together," said Alt.