Cass County Crop Hunger Walk celebrates anniversary

CASS COUNTY — People are going hungry, both internationally and in southwest Michigan.

To combat this issue, Cass County residents and organizations have been working together to host the Cass County Crop Hunger walk.

“It’s at the Cass County Council on Aging, and this is the 30th anniversary of the Cass County Crop Hunger Walk, so we’re doing some special things to help celebrate that,” said Scott Scheel, the pastor at Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church, who is on the committee for the walk. “We’re going to have cupcakes after the walk and we’re putting together pictures in a slide presentation, so if anyone has photos that they’ve taken at past crop hunger walks that they want to send, they can do that and it should be a lot of fun.”

This year, the Crop Hunger Walk will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, with registration starting at 1:30 p.m. Participants will walk around the walking path at the COA, and pick up donation envelopes at the Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church or other participating churches throughout Cass County. The suggested amount of walking is three times around the track, or roughly 2.25 miles, but Scheel said that participates can walk as little or as much as they are able to.

Proceeds from the hunger walk will be split. Seventy-five percent will go to communities throughout the world that are in need of assistance when it comes to food and water, while the other 25 percent will go to the various food pantries in Cass County.

“The crop hunger walks were actually the first organizations to do a walk as a fundraiser, at least nationally,” Scheel said. “So, the motto is, we walk because they walk, so you’re walking in solidarity with people who have to walk long distances just to get fresh water on a daily basis in parts in the world. Or people who may have to walk long distances just for a food supply.”

This year, the goal for the crop walk is to raise more than $9,000 and have 125 participants. Last year, Scheel said that they had around 100 walkers.

The money to help fight international hunger goes to Church World Services, which will use it to help provide people with sustainable ways to obtain water and food, such as digging a well or giving them chickens, according to Scheel. This happens all over the world.

CWS also helps fight hunger domestically, which it is doing currently in North and South Carolina to help provide relief to Hurricane Florence victims.

“I think it’s going to be a great event this year. We have a lot of people involved in planning this year,” Scheel said, “and a lot of churches involved and a lot of other organizations.”

Any participants that raise more than $30 will be entered into a drawing to potentially receive a prize.

To prepare for the Crop Hunger Walk, the Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church is also hosting at a bake sale and auction at around 11:30 a.m. Sunday after church.

“We are auctioning off some baked goods and then some baskets — just things people have put together with various items in them,” Scheel said.

Participants are also allowed to bring their dogs to walk with them if they want, but there are some rules.

“You can bring dogs for the walk,” Scheel said. “They’re not allowed to go inside, but we have professional people who can watch your dog for a minute while you register and then you can take your dog on a walk. We have several dogs who have walked for many years [in the event].”

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