Weather doesn’t deter CROP walkersPublished 9:39am Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The morning of Sunday, Oct. 4, wanted to suppress the excitement with rain, wind, and cold; but, it could not dampen spirits and determination as 143 participants in the Cass County Area CROP Walk left First United Methodist Church of Dowagiac to “walk because they walk.” As their shoes pounded the sidewalk, their enthusiasm seemed to chase the clouds away allowing the sun to break through.
CROP – Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty – is sponsored by Church World Service (CWS), an international relief, development, and refugee resettlement agency. CROP Hunger Walks are community fund-raising events in which individuals, churches, and various organizations in the communities around the world seeking to bring awareness of and walk in solidarity with those who must walk long distances for the basic necessities of life: food and water.
“Funds turned in on Sunday, this year totaling over $4,200, usually represents about half of the total for the year. So we’re expecting somewhere around $8,500,” said John Kasper, co-chair of this year’s event and pastor of the First United Methodist Church. “Of the finds we collect, 75 percent will be distributed around the world. But, 25 percent will remain right here in Cass County. In the first part of the new year Feed My Sheep food pantry in Dowagiac, Helping Hands pantry and assistance program in Cassopolis, Edwardsburg Emergency Fund, Salvation Army – Cure in Dowagiac, and Simeon’s Hope, a homeless assistance program in Dowagiac, will each receive a cut of that 25 percent.”
Last year, a traveling “Heavenly High-tops” trophy, a large, size 18, white and yellow high top athletic shoe donated by Underwood Shoes of Dowagiac, was introduced as a means of bringing some friendly competition and fun to the walk. The Pokagon United Methodist Church was recognized in the opening ceremonies as the church or organization that raised the most money in the 2008 Walk. This year’s winner is yet to be determined. The real winners, of course, are those who will benefit from the funds raised to overcome poverty.
New this year, several local businesses sponsored CROP walk t-shirts so that every walker could not only wear it during the walk but also continue to get the word out about the need to overcome poverty in our county and around the world. Appreciation goes out to McLauchlin Clark Funeral Home, Hardings Market of Dowagiac, Eckman Chiropractic Clinic, Mahar Insurance, KGB Construction, MidWest Energy, Preferred Printing, Upstream Water’s Landscaping, Connelly Funeral Home, 5/3 Bank, and Dowagiac Commercial Press.
Poverty and its effects are especially felt as the cold returns but, sadly, is a reality all year long. The leaders of the 2009 Cass County Area CROP Walk encourage you to support the agencies in our county that provide assistance to those in need.