The 51st-annual Quad Cities’ CROP Hunger Walk has a whole new route this year — across the new pedestrian path of the I-74 bridge.

The walk will be this Sunday, Oct. 2nd, beginning at the Bass Street Landing plaza in Moline (off River Drive and 17th Street), across the bridge from Moline to Bettendorf and back. Registration begins at 1 p.m. and the walk begins immediately thereafter.

So far, 42 people have registered and $10,784 has been raised. Last year, about 50 people walked (raising $34,000) from the Centennial Bridge in Davenport, to the Government Bridge and back, said event organizer Rick Martin of Davenport.

For many years, the CROP walk started at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, and did a six-mile route across the Centennial, through Rock Island’s Broadway district and back.

“I remember that people saying that’s just too far, so it was shortened in 2019,” Martin said. The new route across the new 74 bridge is 2.4 miles total.

CROP Hunger Walks are community-based walk fundraising events held in cities and towns across the U.S. (now about 700 total), created to support the global mission of Church World Service, a faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster.

After a CROP Hunger Walk ends, one-quarter of the funds raised is returned to the host community to support local hunger-fighting efforts.

Previous CROP walks have gone across the Centennial Bridge.

The faith-based event usually brings out many church members and varied congregations across the QC area. In the past few years, many Muslims have participated, Martin said, noting last year’s group was half Muslim. In past years, his church (St. Mark’s Lutheran in Davenport) was among the biggest group of walkers.

Martin said the issue of hunger remains a big problem locally.

“In the community, it’s not getting any better it doesn’t seem,” he said. “I know at St. Mark’s, we’ve seen twice as many people this year than we were last year.”

The River Bend Food Bank works with 400+ partner agencies in 23 counties to ensure people facing hunger have reliable access to healthy food. Leading the community-wide effort to eliminate hunger in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, in 2021, the Food Bank distributed more than 22 million meals to children, adults, and seniors through food pantries, schools, senior residences, and community organizations.

A rendering of the expanded River Bend Food Bank, at 4010 Kimmel Drive in west Davenport.

The Food Bank has a capital campaign to expand its facility in southwest Davenport.

The additional space will drive growth for the organization and increase its capacity to end hunger in its 23-county service area. This significant expansion, which includes plans to add 25,000 square feet and renovate existing spaces, is happening during the Food Bank’s 40th anniversary, reflecting decades of growth and change.

In the early ‘70s, when Martin first did the CROP walk, it was 20 miles long. “We were kids then,” he said.

Each walker or group is encouraged to raise however much they can, and people can donate without having to walk, Martin (who has raised about $800) said. They also encourage people to bring jars of peanut butter and jelly to the event at Bass Street Landing, to give to food pantries.

To register or for more information, click HERE.