Columbia residents will walk together to feed the hungry in the Church World Service’s annual Crop Walk on Sunday.
Walt McManus, Crop Walk coordinator, said the fundraiser will provide people in other countries with survival skills, rather than simply sending them money.
“It’s a great cause,” McManus said. “I absolutely love doing it.”
“We walk because they walk,” is the slogan for this year’s walk, hosted by First Christian Church. Amy Kay Pavlovich of First Christian Church said she hopes the slogan reminds people that the three-mile walk is nothing compared to the daily trips those stricken with poverty must make for basic supplies.
“Hungry people in developing countries typically walk as much as 10 kilometers each day to get food, water, and fuel...” reads the Columbia Crop Walk Web site. “We walk to be in solidarity with their struggle for existence.”
Pavlovich, who has been involved with Crop Walk for eight years, said this is a way to “be good stewards of our space.” She said the walk is at First Christian Church this year because of construction at Missouri United Methodist Church, which usually hosts the walk.
McManus said there are usually 150 to 200 walkers. They hail from 12 to 15 different religious denominations, mainly Christian, but all are welcome.
The Crop Walk has been around since at least 1976, though McManus said he was not sure of the exact year it started.
The majority of the money raised will be distributed internationally. Twenty-five percent will stay in Columbia and aid St. Francis House, Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen and the Lois Bryant Home.
“We all got together about five years ago and said we really want to touch a local agency,” McManus said.
Registration begins at 1:20 p.m. There will be speakers, music and fellowship until the walk starts at 2 p.m.
The route begins and ends at the First Christian Church at 101 N. Tenth St. There are two rest stops, one at the Islamic Center of Central Missouri at 201 S. Fifth St., and one at Calvary Episcopal Church at 123 S. Ninth St.
Afterward, there will be a potluck snack dinner. People are encouraged to bring food, and any surplus will be delivered to the Loaves and Fishes shelter on Ash Street.
“I really appreciate the ministry of Church World Services,” Pavlovich said. “(We) want to do what we can to help.”
The Church World Service is an organization that focuses on disaster relief around the world. It was founded in 1946 as an aid to the ministries of 35 Anglican, Orthodox and Protestant denominations in the United States.
In addition to Crop Walk, the Church World Service operates the Tools and Blankets Program, which provides international disaster relief, and the Church World Service Kits Program, which provides essential care items to those in need.
Additional information on Crop Walk can be found at Columbiacropwalk.missouri.org/.