2011 Penn Yan Area CROP Walk set for May 1

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

The 2011 Penn Yan Area CROP Walk will be held Sunday, May 1, 2011, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Penn Yan. The route will be similar to last year’s, with a one-mile and a five-mile circuit winding through Penn Yan.

Last year, despite the bad economy, the Penn Yan Area CROP Walk had its best year ever — raising $15,039.75 through the efforts of 163 walkers from 21 churches and organizations in the Penn Yan and Dundee area.

Since 1980, the Penn Yan Area CROP Walk has raised $191,325.29; a tribute to the generosity and heart of the people who live in this area.

This money helps fight hunger and poverty around the world as well as in the United States. Up to 25 percent of the funds raised at a CROP Walk is returned to the local community in which it was raised to assist local hunger-fighting initiatives. Last year, $3313.94 was donated to the Penn Yan Area Food for the Needy program administered by the Penn Yan Area Council of Churches, and $446 was donated to the Dundee Area Youth Center to help fight hunger here at home.

What does CROP stand for?

CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty, and identifies interfaith hunger education and projects sponsored by Church World Service. Founded in 1946, Church World Service is a cooperative ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations providing sustainable self-help and development, disaster relief, and refugee assistance around the world. Given the opportunity, people the world over have the strength and knowledge to take the lead in addressing their own challenges. One of the best ways to help is to listen, to learn and to share resources appropriate to people’s needs. Building partner relationships around the world to most effectively use available resources is a hallmark of Church World Service.

How are CROP funds used?

CROP Walk funds  support the overall ministry of Church World Service, especially the grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts of partner agencies in some 80 countries. From seeds and tools, to wells and water systems, to technical training and micro-enterprise loans, CROP Walk funds help people to support themselves, their families and their communities. For example, Church World Service has worked in partnership with Haiti since 1954 in a disaster relief capacity, as well as supporting agricultural co-ops in Haiti.

Following the devastating earthquake in 2010, Church World Service transported blankets, tents, and vitally needed water and sanitation equipment, medicine and food packages into Haiti to help earthquake survivors. Church World Service supplies began arriving one day after the earthquake, and the organization continues to support the rebuilding efforts in Haiti. The construction of deep borehole wells in Malawi is helping families in 37,500 households in 150 rural villages gain access to clean water.

The villages provide labor and locally available materials. In Honduras, families in 10 communities are learning about soil and water conservation, problems of deforestation, and better growing methods so they can grow more food for their own use and for sale in the market.

Who can participate in CROP Walks?

Everyone – churches, businesses, schools, organizations, friends, neighbors and individuals. Nationally, upwards of 200 corporations match employee gifts and/or volunteer hours to CROP Walks.

Locally, thousands of businesses and media outlets support their communities’ CROP Walk, providing T-shirts and other supplies, and turning out teams of walkers. Participating in the CROP Walk is a worthwhile community service project, great exercise, wonderful fellowship with your team and the other walkers, and most of all, the funds raised can make such a positive and lasting difference in the lives of people who are far less fortunate than we and desperately need the help.

How can I learn more?

There will be a meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. March 15 at Bluff Point United Methodist Church at Kinney’s Corners (between Penn Yan and Branchport off Rt. 54A) for area pastors, CROP Walk recruiters (those organizing a team of walkers for their church or organization), and anyone who would like to learn more about the CROP Walk.

Information about projects the CROP Walk and Church World Service help to fund around the world, as well as some tips for having a successful CROP Walk will be available.

The materials for the walk recruiters will be handed out and explained. For more information, or if you would like to participate in the CROP Walk in any way, please call Sarah Stackhouse at 315-536-9482.