SARATOGA SPRINGS – According to the United Nations, 25,000 people die daily from starvation, thirst or diseases related to malnutrition. This is approximately the population of Saratoga Springs. Be a part of the solution for world hunger with Saratoga Springs’ thirty-sixth annual CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, October 25.
There are 2,000 local CROP walks around the country. The walks raise about 25 percent of the $81 million dollar budget that funds Church World Service (CWS) projects. CWS is an interdenominational organization founded in the late 1940’s to provide aid to Eastern Europe after WWII.
Today, CWS has dozens of projects in virtually every corner of the globe, both in the United States and abroad. Projects serve refuges from wars and disasters, and provide hunger relief and access to fresh water in nations where people are starving. CWS has been actively involved in current refugee relief efforts in the Middle East and in southeastern Europe.
CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty. CROP walks were initially introduced as an educational and funding tool in the 1960’s. Now, CROP walks are supported by many churches and synagogues, as well as schools, businesses, community organizations, and other secular groups committed to fighting world hunger.
CROP walks funded hurricane relief after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and more recently provided aid for victims of flooding in Colorado.
25 percent of funds raised from local CROP walks are returned to the local community. For Saratoga, a portion of the funds raised will go toward Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council.
“We are a community that cares about other people. The CROP walk is just one of the many ways the community comes together to express concern and thoughtfulness about this problem in the world and in our country,” said Ken Klotz, local organizer for the CROP walk in Saratoga.
The CROP walk on October 25 will cover about 3 miles, but walkers can do as much or as little of the full walk as they wish to. Beginning at the Spirit of Life statue in Congress Park, the walk will follow a route around downtown, mostly on Broadway. After an initial short loop, there is a rest stop at the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church on Park and Circular Street. A longer loop extends to the City Center before walkers return to Congress Park via the west side of Broadway.
Though Saratoga’s is relatively short, CROP walks in other communities are sometimes marathons of 15 miles or longer. The biggest CROP walks in the area are in Hudson Falls and Schenectady, taking place in the spring.
The CROP walk is free and open to the public, but donations are accepted online and at the day of the walk.
For more information, or to donate, visit cropwalk.org or call 518-587-1534. For more information about Church World Services, visit cwsglobal.org.