Cass County to partake in annual Crop Hunger Walk

EDWARDSBURG — An annual charity fundraiser will be hosted early next month. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be looking different than usual.

On Oct. 4, Cass County will host its annual Church World Service Crop Hunger Walk. This year, due to social distancing guidelines, the crop hunger walk will be, for the first time, hosted in four separate locations, rather than in one. Dowagiac residents will meet at the First United Methodist Church, located on Lowe Street in Dowagiac, from 1 to 2 p.m. Cassopolis participants will meet at the Cass County Council on Aging track, located on Decatur Road in Cassopolis, from 1 to 2 p.m. People from Edwardsburg should meet at the Presbyterian Church, located on Lake Street in Edwardsburg, from 1 to 2 p.m.

All of these walks are being hosted Oct. 4, but in Vandalia, community members will meet at the Church of God, located on Walnut Street in Vandalia, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.  Wednesday, Sept. 23. All walkers are asked to bring a mask and practice social distancing.

“This will make things easier,” said Scott Scheel, pastor of Edwardsburg Presbyterian Church and organizer of the Cass County Crop Hunger Walk. “This way, we can have few people at each location, and it will be easier to spread out. Hopefully, this is a one-year, one-time thing.”

Twenty-five percent of all funds raised from the Crop Hunger Walk will support food pantries across Cass County. The other 75 percent of funds will support Church World Service projects worldwide. Church World Service supports programs that provide relief to those facing hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster around the globe.

“This goes toward things like providing people with clean water or giving to those who don’t have reliable food sources,” Scheel said.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Scheel said the need has been more apparent than ever — both at home and abroad.

“Areas where there is extreme poverty have been hit hard by the coronavirus — especially in terms of hunger,” he said. “There is a need globally. Of course, there is a need here, but there are parts of the world where it is really a desperate situation. I’m glad that [this event], even if it is in a small way, can help.”

Typically, the annual Crop Hunger Walk in Cass County draws between 80 to 100 participants, last year raising $8,500. While Scheel does not know if this year’s event will draw the same numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all the changes that have come about as a result, he is still hoping for a good turnout.

“We are hoping it’s going to be a beautiful day,” he said. “We don’t have a goal this year, and we don’t know how this is going to go, but this is for a good cause.”

Even if residents cannot attend the annual Crop Hunger Walk this year, Scheel encouraged them to donate to help meet the need left by COVID-19.

“Anything can help,” he said. “There are lots of ways [residents] can support.”

Those who cannot attend the walk in person can donate online at crophungerwalk.org/dowagiacmi. For more information on donating or signing up to walk, contact Leigh Goyings at (269) 591-1334.

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