A Walk to Feed the World's Hungry
Red Bank CROP Walk, one of nearly 2,000 similar country-wide food and fund-raising efforts, set for this weekend.
For more than 30 years they’ve walked here. A symbolic march through Red Bank and surrounding towns intended to not just create awareness, but show the lengths that some must travel each day for clean water and food.
The Red Bank CROP Hunger Walk is an annual 5-mile run/walk that collects food for local pantries and raises money for disaster relief and development in third world nations, among other projects. A multi-denominational effort sponsored by the Church World Service, the local walk is one of close to 100 in New Jersey and more than 1,800 across the country, all with the same mission.
Walk Coordinator Janie Schildge said an average of more than 1,000 people take the walk through Red Bank, Fair Haven and Little Silver each year to highlight the need to feed the world’s needy. Though global responsibility has been an endeavor for the CROP walk, Schildge said that in recent years, as the economy continues to languish, the local aid has become that much more important.
“Everything has come back home. We like to help people get back on their feet, for the long term,” she said. “If you look around Red Bank these days, a lot of people need help.”
The walk is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 16. Registration at Red Bank Regional High School begins at 12:30 with the walk kicking off an hour later. The route takes participants from Little Silver to Red Bank, up Broad Street, and then on to Fair Haven, with several water stops along the way.
Last year, the walk raised – participants seek sponsors, though donations are still welcome even if you’re not walking or sponsoring someone who is – around $120,000 and collected 11,000 pounds of food that was distributed by students to soup kitchens and food pantries around the county. Over the course of the walk’s 31 years, it’s raised more than $2 million, Schildge said.
As donations have increased, so too has participation. In 1981, the walk had 15 churches participate. Last year the Red Bank CROP walk saw participation from 80 congregations of all religious denominations, more than 30 schools, 17 partner agencies, like Lunch Break and Monmouth Day Care Center, and more than 20 sponsors and other community groups.
All that organizers ask for is a little help.
“There’s no entry fee, but we do ask people to raise whatever they can. If someone’s walking we ask that they consider donating the money they’d use on something else during the week,” she said. “We don’t think about what we spend money on during the week. When you stop and think, even $10 can do a lot to help other people.”
The walk takes on added significance this year with the recent death of longtime volunteer Sue Glossbrenner. Glossbrenner, 56, died of complications related to lymphoma this past spring. She had been a CROP participant since its very first local event, a beach cleanup of Sandy Hook, in 1979.
For more information about the event, including how to get involved, visit the Red Bank CROP Walk website at http://www.redbankcropwalk.com.