The Quad Cities CROP Walk has been recognized as one of the top 20 “Cream of the CROP” walks in the nation.
Nationwide, there were 59 Spring 2020 CROP Hunger Walk events all across the country that raised $1,087,946, coordinator Rick Martin said. There were 428 Fall CROP Hunger Walk events that raised $4,592,568 for a grand total of 487 Walk events that raised $5,680,514 for calendar year 2020.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions all across the country, many walks reinvented themselves into a variety of events – small groups walking around the block or in a neighborhood park; others simply walking into their church office and making their donation; and the popular virtual walks – folks just mailing in their donations, Martin said. Others did online events, like Zoom talks and online games with hunger as the central topic.
“Our Quad Cities CROP Hunger Walk has been described as the most diverse public event held in our community,” Martin said. “We are blessed to have participation from the sisters and brothers from the Jewish, Muslim and Sikh temples as well as a dozen different Christian denominations. Add to this a few non-religious groups (a team of physical therapists, employees from a bakery, a local deejay) and we end up with a diverse group whose sole mission is to help those in need.”
The CROP Project was organized in 1947 when farmers were asked to donate food and seed crops to hungry people in post-World War II Europe and Asia, a program that soon became known as the Christian Rural Overseas Program – CROP. In 1969 in Bismarck, N.D., and in 1970 in York, Pa., the first walk events were organized to raise funds to support CROP. Since then, CROP Hunger Walk events have been held in hundreds of communities large and small raising millions of dollars to eradicate hunger and poverty.
The Quad Cities CROP Hunger Walk
The local CROP Hunger Walk has been raising awareness and money since 1971. The QC CROP Hunger Walk is a 3.5-mile bi-state walk where dozens of churches and other groups enlist pledged sponsors to pay them to “walk for the hungry.”
The event generally raises between $30,000 to $50,000 annually. The walk is organized by a local committee and recruits area walkers to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the globe.
“Our 25% is divided evenly to the Christian Care shelter and meal site, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, Humility of Mary Homeless Shelter, Meal Service of the Quad Cities (Meals on Wheels), and River Bend Foodbank’s weekend backpack program,” Martin said.
The most recent walk was the “2020 do-it-yourself walk” with individual groups walking in local parks, around their neighborhoods, from their church to another and back.
“We had 28 groups take part in raising money, but I’m not sure how many groups actually put their sneakers to the asphalt,” Martin said. “Because of the COVID-19, we weren’t able to have our usual 250 to 300 walkers show up for one big event.
We ended up raising $39,385.40, which was fantastic considering all the obstacles we had to deal with.
“This total was $6,000 more than we raised in 2019, which was a normal year.”
The 50th annual Quad Cities CROP Hunger Walk will take place Oct. 3. Over the years, the event has raised more than $1 million.