Edwardsburg hosts 25th CROP WalkPublished 9:59am Thursday, October 11, 2012
Organizers of the 25th CROP walk and the first in Edwardsburg promised to step off, rain or shine, in the spirit of “We Walk Because They Walk.”
But nobody said anything about sleet.
Sleet and 42-degree temperatures did not deter 168 walkers — up from 141 in 2011 — who Oct. 7 attempted one or three miles around the village, which will also host in 2013 before returning to Dowagiac.
There was a downpour an hour before the hunger-fighting event, but the weather cooperated, although some sprinkles and cool temperatures pale in comparison to having to hoof it to find food — instead of rehydrating at a water station or refreshments afterward of cookies, apples and hot chocolate.
Contributions surpassed $9,057, putting the CROP walk on pace to match $12,151 made last year; the total takes two weeks to trickle in.
Twenty-five percent of donations stay in Cass County, divided between Edwardsburg’s emergency fund, Helping Hands in Cassopolis, Salvation Army/CURE and ACTION, a church coalition in Dowagiac.
CROP, an acronym for Christian Rural Overseas Program, started in 1947 to help Midwest farm families feed hungry neighbors after World War II.
The CROP walk started and finished at the Presbyterian Church, 68961 Lake St., just south of U.S. 12 in uptown.
The procession spread east to the school campus, wound through residential neighborhoods, doubling back on Wilkinson Street past Cass District Library, then police crossed participants at U.S. 12 for two laps through Edwardsburg Cemetery.
Host Pastor Scott Scheel said, “The leaves back there were gorgeous. It would have been nicer if it was sunny, but at least it stopped raining just in time.”
Several churches participated for the first time, such as Our Lady of the Lake Catholic parish, which brought more than 30 walkers.
“Dynamo” Ruth Crawley, 76, of Chain Lake Missionary Baptist Church, Cassopolis, who died Sept. 18, was much missed as “the Mother Teresa of Cass County.”
Also represented were Pokagon United Methodist Church, First United Methodist Church of Dowagiac, Hope United Methodist Church of Edwardsburg, Cassopolis United Methodist Church, Marcellus United Methodist Church and Marcellus Catholic Church.
Jeff Singleton of Cassopolis brought his dog. Children were challenged with a scavenger hunt, trying to spot wooden shoes, a pumpkin, a maple tree, an awning, a squirrel, an antique garden tiller, a bug, a red star, a triangle, a sunflower and an angel along the route, though a vexing find seemed to be a plush pink caterpillar atop a vehicle almost in front of the church door, which they burst past at a run.
Before departing, the congregation watched videos and sang “They’ll Know We Are Christians.”
Interfaith CROP walks are sponsored by Church World Service and organized by CWS/CROP regional offices throughout the United States.
In 2011, the CROP walk fed 628 families in the Cassopolis area, up from 337 in 2010.
Of the 75 percent distributed around the world, donations do not just provide food, but are used to help people in depressed countries become self-sufficient.
Twenty-five dollars provides 50 baby chicks to a village; $50 buys seeds and tools for three families to start a garden; and $110 furnishes emergency food for a family of five for a month.
According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the single gravest threat to public health. Six million children die of starvation each year.