ROUSES POINT The annual CROP Walk is coming and the Rev. Al Johnson is calling on the publics help to make the event a success.
The Rev. Johnson, pastor of Mooers United Methodist Church, will again serve as organizer for this years walk, which yearly supports Church World Service an international organization that provides assistance to refugees and victims of natural disasters and teaches self-sustaining technologies to Third World countries. However, 25% of the proceeds raised will benefit food pantries in the Northern Tier.
Last years total of approximately $2,100 raised is something the Rev. Johnson hopes to see exceeded or at least equaled at this years walk, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 7.
Theres a very good cooperative ecumenical spirit which stretches from Mooers to Champlain to Rouses Point ...Its very important to see at a very practical level what caring individuals can do, and its not limited to Christians, even though it was started by Christians, said the Rev. Johnson. Weve been very blessed.
The Rev. Johnson would know about blessings. Hes seen many of what he considers blessings over his 30-year involvement with CROP Walks from Gloversville to Mooers blessings not only in the form of donations raised for the needy, but in bringing people together as well.
This walk not only helps combat hunger, it builds camaraderie among people of different faiths and ages, said the Rev. Johnson. It brings out many younger folks who might not realize youths their own age share the same interest. It creates fellowship.
Its amazing work that goes on through volunteers, said Douglas Anderson, director of the CWS Upstate New York regional office. And we walk because they walk.
That phrase, We walk because they walk, has become the common motto of CROP walkers across the country. The meaning behind the slogan is that many people who are unable to afford food and the basic necessities of life must walk in order to find them, sometimes at great distances.
CROP Walks first began in 1947 through the then newly formed Church World Service. The name was an acronym that stood for the Christian Rural Overseas Program. The main focus of the mission was to help farm families in the Midwest share grain with those in need overseas. This month, on the 60th anniversary of CROPs foundation, a new acronym was adopted by Church World Service to more modernly reflect todays mission. CROP now stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty. The program now identifies interfaith hunger education and fundraising events both sponsored by Church World Service and organized by 21 regional CWS/CROP offices across the United States.
Its never really been a problem of abundance, explained Mr. Anderson. With more and more billionaires popping up day after day, the ability is out there for societys privileged to help out their less fortunate brethren, he said, who has served as regional director since 1976. In my book there shouldnt be one soup kitchen or food pantry, because theres plenty to go around.
The need to help the underprivileged is one that is ever increasing, said the Rev. Johnson. In Mooers alone, he said, the number of families that are served by food pantries is more and more, year after year. Until there is an even keel system that breaks down financial barriers, allowing everyone to share what they have evenly, Church World Service and the CROP Walk will continue to exist.
And the Rouses Point walk will be no exception.
Walkers and supporters will gather Oct. 7 at the Rouses Point Civic Center, 39 Lake St., beginning at 1 p.m. Participants are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to local food pantries in addition to sponsorship money collected.
Those interested in participating in the walk or making a donation may contact the Rev. Johnson at 236-7129 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If youre unable to attend the Oct. 7 walk, you still have a last-minute chance to support the CROP effort this Saturday, Sept. 29. A walk will be held at the United Methodist Church on Beekman Street in Plattsburgh, beginning with registration at 1:30 p.m. The walk will follow at 2 p.m. Participants may choose from two routes a roughly 2.5-mile and a six-mile route. Both will depart from the church, following Beekman Street to Broad Street. The shorter route will continue on to Oak Street and circle back to the church. The longer route will travel down Broad Street and continue to the back entrance of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base. Walkers will walk around the PARC Oval and return to the church from there. For more information about that walk, contact event organizer Jackie Robertin at 561-7545, or via e-mail at email@example.com .