Franklin County’s CROP Hunger Walk coming up Sunday

  • Franklin County CROP Hunger Walk participants cross Main Street in Greenfield in 2017. This year’s walk will be held in New Salem on Sunday. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Second Congregational Church members Judy Kelton, from left, Corey Sanderson, and Laurie Boosahda, cross Main Street in Greenfield during the 2017 Franklin County CROP Hunger Walk. This year’s walk will be held in New Salem on Sunday. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2021 1:59:42 PM

NEW SALEM — A year after having a “whenever, wherever” event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Franklin County’s annual CROP Hunger Walk is inching back to normalcy with a roughly 2.75-mile stroll slated for Sunday.

Participants will take off from the Central Congregational Church in New Salem — this year’s sponsor — at 2 p.m., going south along South Main Street before turning around and walking back.

The CROP Hunger Walk is a project of Church World Service that provides support throughout the world to communities lacking enough food. Every year, community walks like the one in Franklin County draw attention to the issue and raise money for the organization’s mission. Money generated also goes to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, according to organizer Steve Damon.

“All the money is going to good,” he said.

People can donate to Franklin County’s CROP Hunger Walk online at bit.ly/3A1nOJ1. Damon said there will also be satellite CROP Hunger Walks elsewhere throughout Franklin County, including at Trinity Church in Shelburne Falls.

Last year’s “sort-of walk,” in Damon’s words, raised $14,275, according to the Franklin County chapter’s Facebook page.

“The most important thing, in my mind, is no one got sick from it,” Damon said.

On Oct. 17, 1969, a thousand people in Bismarck, N.D., raised $25,000 to help fight hunger by participating in what may have been the start of the hunger walks related to CROP. Damon was born a few days later in Franklin County, where the first such walk took place in 1987. He said he learned about CROP Hunger Walks when his family participated in one after he came home from college.

According to crophungerwalk.org, when CROP began in 1947, it was an acronym for the Christian Rural Overseas Program. Its primary mission was to help Midwest farm families to share their grain with people in post-World War II Europe and Asia.

“Today, we’ve outgrown the acronym, but we retain it as the historic name of the program,” CROP’s website reads. The nonprofit is based in Elkhart, Ind.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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