Churches raise awareness, funds
Annual Crop Walk helps end local, worldwide hunger
By BOB COUPLAND
CORTLAND — More than 75 people representing 12 area churches took part in the annual Crop Walk that focuses on raising awareness of hunger both locally and worldwide.
Brian Kovach, event organizer, said hunger and poverty, both locally and worldwide, has become a major issue of concern. The theme of the walk held each fall is ”Ending Hunger One Step at a Time.”
Crop Walks are community-wide events sponsored by Church World Services to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world.
The participants traveled 1.2 miles from Cortland United Methodist Church and then traveled to Mosquito Lake, with a shorter 1-mile route available for those not able to travel the entire walk.
Kovach said those who went to the lake could put water in a container to demonstrate what people in some parts of the world have to do each day to get clean water. He said there are people in parts of the world who travel miles each day to get water for their families.
Kovach said people from churches in Warren, Cortland, Champion and Bazetta were among those who took part in the Crop Walk in Cortland.
The ”wet walk” was to go the lake and get a five-gallon bucket of water that when filled weighs up to 40 pounds. The ”dry walk” was two laps of 0.5 miles each through neighborhoods near the church.
He said 25 percent of the funds raised by Cortland and Bazetta churches will benefit the Cortland Area Cares food pantry and 75 percent goes to Church World Services.
The Newton Falls area will partially benefit through the Church Mouse program and some funds will go to the Warren City Schools free lunch program.
Newton Falls Christian Church held a non-walk Crop Walk earlier this month. In 2015, the church raised $340.
The Crop Walk program started in the aftermath of World War II and began as a ”Wheat for Relief” program in the Midwest accepting wheat, rice, corn and beans from farmers for hungry people. It gained so much support that 700 box cars traveled across the country to New York where the food was shipped to France, according to the Crop Walk website.
Today, the Crop Walk program operates hunger walks across the country and supports food aid at home and abroad.