CROP Walk is Sunday afternoon

MILFORD – Diane Varney-Parker has been walking or running the Milford CROP Walk since she joined with others in her church, the Milford First Congregational, about 10 years ago.

“I was hooked,” said the Milford Middle School teacher. “It’s a terrific program – seeing all the people in the community walking together.”

Varney-Parker and her son, Aidan, will be among the Souhegan Valley CROP Hunger walkers this Sunday, raising money for the hungry around the world and locally.

Sometimes called “the granddaddy of charity walks,” CROP Walks are community-wide events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by religious organizations, businesses, schools or other groups to raise funds to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world.

More than 2,000 communities across the U.S. join in more than 1,000 CROP Hunger Walks each year. More than five million CROP Hunger Walkers have participated in more than 36,000 CROP Hunger Walks in the last two decades.

When CROP began in 1947, its name was an acronym for the Christian Rural Overseas Program. Its primary mission was to help Midwest farm families share their grain with hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia.

Contemporary CROP Walks started in 1969, when a thousand people in Bismarck, ND, walked in what may have been the start of the hunger walks related to CROP. They raised $25,000.

The following year in York County, Penn. there was the first walk officially called the “CROP Walk for the Hungry.” Several other CROP Hunger Walks occurred soon thereafter, and before long there were hundreds of walks each year in communities nationwide.

CROP Hunger Walks help to support the overall work of Church World Service, particularly grassroots development efforts around the world. In addition, each local CROP Hunger Walk can choose to return up to 25 percent of the funds it raises to hunger-fighting programs in its own community.

Money raised helps provide food and water, as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs, including seeds, tools and wells and water systems.

The walk starts at St. Patrick’s Church and there are two routes, one about 6 miles, into the center of Amherst, and the other is 1.8 miles around downtown Miford.

Registration is online, or in person at 1 p.m. at the church, located at 34 Amherst St., Milford. They step off at 2 p.m.

For more information contact Gene Heighton at cptgene@comcast.net.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

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