When CROP began in 1947 (under the wing of Church World Service, which was founded in 1946), CROP was an acronym for the Christian Rural Overseas Program. Its primary mission was to help Midwest farm families to share their grain with hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia.
Today, we’ve outgrown the acronym but we retain it as the historic name of the program. CROP Hunger Walks are interfaith hunger education and fundraising events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by CWS local offices across the U.S.
With its inception in 1969, CROP Hunger Walks are “viewed by many as the granddaddy of charity walks,” notes the Los Angeles Times (Oct. 26, 2009).
On October 17, 1969, a thousand people in Bismarck, ND, walked in what may have been the start of the hunger walks related to CROP – and raised $25,000 to help stop hunger. As far as we know, York County, Penn., was the first walk officially called the CROP Walk for the Hungry – and that event has been continuous since 1970. Several other CROP Hunger Walks occurred soon thereafter, and before long there were hundreds of Walks each year in communities nationwide.
Currently, well over 2,000 communities across the U.S. join in more than 1,300 CROP Hunger Walks each year. More than five million CROP Hunger Walkers have participated in more than 36,000 CROP Hunger Walks in the last two decades alone.
Where do CROP Hunger Walk funds go?
CROP Hunger Walks help to support the overall ministry of Church World Service, especially grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts around the world. In addition, each local CROP Hunger Walk can choose to return up to 25 percent of the funds it raises to hunger-fighting programs in its own community. The Lancaster Walk provides funding for the Lancaster County Council of Churches.
CROP Hunger Walks help to provide food and water, as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs. From seeds and tools, to wells and water systems, to technical training and micro-enterprise loans, the key is people working together to identify their own development priorities, their strengths and their needs something CWS has learned through some 70 years of working in partnership around the world.
Why should I register?
Hunger is one of the greatest injustices facing our world, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Ending hunger is possible, and it is possible in our lifetime. You can help make it happen.
For nearly half a century, CROP Hunger Walks have ensured that more people worldwide have access to nutritious, sustainable food sources. From combating droughts in Nicaragua to providing agricultural training in Indonesia to stocking shelves in hundreds of food pantries across the United States, CROP Hunger Walks help end hunger by raising funds to support local food programs and the international anti-hunger work of Church World Service.
Stand with neighbors in your community who rely on food assistance programs. Partner with parents worldwide as they ensure a bright future for their children. Support those struggling in the face of grinding poverty and open up new doors of opportunity for them.
Tens of thousands of CROP Hunger Walkers are committed to building a hunger-free world. Join the movement!