Ann Arbor’s Annual Crop Walk Raises Awareness of World Hunger

Image courtesy of Ann Arbor Crop Walk

By Donna Iadipaolo

About 300 participants — including families and children — walked in the Ann Arbor CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, October 3, to raise money to help end world hunger. 

“We help to raise funds for local, national, and international hunger needs — much focus in recent years is on disaster relief and aid to refugees, but also things like helping local people become self-sufficient,” according to Mary Pratt — co-chair of the Ann Arbor Crop Walk. “Twenty-five percent of funds raised stay in local agencies.”

Local agencies that help families and those with food insecurity issues apply for grants.  

“This year we are helping Community Action Network, Hope Clinic, Peace Neighborhood Center, Growing Hope, St. Andrew’s Breakfast Program, Packard Health, and Love Thy Neighbor (at First United Methodist Church),” Pratt said. 

Pratt has been involved in the CROP Walk as a walker for 38 years and has served on the organizing committee since 1996. Barb Fichtenberg is co-chair with Pratt.

“CROP Walk is part of Church World Service (CWS), an international relief organization,” Pratt explained. “The first CROP Walks to raise money for world hunger relief were 52 years ago. This year is Ann Arbor’s 47th Walk.”

Also this year, like last year, the walk was hybrid due to COVID concerns, according to Pratt.

Those who wanted to could follow a planned route of either a short walk of fewer than two miles or a 4-mile walk, beginning at Bethlehem UCC. Others joined virtually, walking in their own neighborhoods, or even in their living rooms. Churches, other religious groups, and community organizations formed teams and collected donations.  

“We have some walkers who have participated all 47 years,” Pratt described.   

This was a fun-filled, inclusive event for all to engage in. 

“This is a great activity for families — people of all ages participate, from babies in backpacks to those who are older — it is a great multi-generational event,” Pratt described. “In the past, we have been able to gather afterward for a community meal, but due to Covid concerns, this will not happen this year.  Many people also bring their dogs for the walk.”

Last year, the 2020 Ann Arbor CROP walk raised about $33,000. Pratt concluded by stating they hope to exceed that this year.

CROP Hunger Walks are community-based walk events around the entire United States organized by Church World Service. The Crop Project began in 1947 with farmers donating food and seed crops to hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia. In 1969, walk events were organized to support CROP.

Their motto is now: “Walk. Give. Change the World…Ending Hunger One Step at a Time.”

To make a donation go to OneCause Peer-to-Peer Social Fundraising.