Walkers will aid hungry

By Rick Moreci

The annual DeKalb County CROP Walk will be Sunday afternoon. Registration starts at 1:30 p.m. and the walk will begin at 2 p.m. Participants will meet and begin at the Newman Catholic Student Center.

The walk covers an area of 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles.

The purpose of the CROP program and the walk is to support the cause of feeding the hungry throughout the nation. People who participate in the walk receive a sponsor sheet in order to get pledges and donations.

Twenty-five percent of the money raised from this event will go to DeKalb County hunger needs. Some of the organizations in this community the walk helps to support are food for the elderly, the Salvation Army food pantry and a group called N.I.C.E. (Neighbors in Christ Ecumenical), which also helps to provide food for the hungry.

The other 75 percent of the money goes to the Church World Service. This service, as the name implies, deals with hunger problems throughout the world. “It attacks the problem of hunger from the inside-out,” said Marium Hussain, NIU recruiter for this walk.

According to a brochure written by members of CROP, CROP is the name given to walks and other community hunger education and fund raising events sponsored by Church World Service.

The CROP Community Hunger Appeal began 45 years ago with small Midwestern farm families sharing their harvests with hungry neighbors in postwar Europe, according to another CROP brochure. The first walk was Oct. 17, 1969, in Bismarck, N. Dak.

By 1985, there were more than 260,000 people joining in the 1,449 walks. By 1991, the number had grown to more than 330,000 walkers in 1,856 different Walks. Last year, the number once again rose dramatically to 3.3 million people participating in almost 2,000 walks.

This year, DeKalb County will feature two CROP walks on the same day. The north walk will be the one leaving from the Newman Center in DeKalb. The south walk will leave from Waterman United Methodist Church in Waterman.

Hussain said, “The stress here is walking for hunger, not for fitness. Walking physically acknowledges the tragedies and hunger that is out there.”

There will be several rest stops set up along the route with water for the participants. Wheeled items such as roller blades, bicycles and skateboards are not allowed on the walk. However, wheelchairs and baby strollers are acceptable.

Walkers who raise $100 or more in pledges will receive a free CROP t-shirt on the day of the walk.

“I am very positive about the walk,” Hussain said. “DeKalb residents as well as NIU students are symbolic of the nation’s fight for hunger.”

Hussain also said, “I am believe the walk is so successful because it tackles the tragedy of hunger from the inside-out by donating profits and contributions to not only abroad, but local hunger needs as well.”