Photo: Paul Jeffrey
CROP Hunger Walk
Reeling from the devastation of World War II, Europe soon found itself without a harvest to feed thousands of families in cities across the continent. A year after the armistice was signed bringing the war to an end, Great Britain was forced to reintroduce bread rationing due to a lack of wheat. That same year, however, the United States had a record harvest of 1,120 million bushels.
This was the context that bore CWS’s hunger programs, beginning with the first ever CROP event (Christian Rural Overseas Program) in 1947. An outpouring of support from communities across the United States contributed to train cars full of grain heading towards the coasts and onward to recovering Europe and Asia. This same spirit of giving has carried through the years into our own time as communities from coast to coast continue to participate in CROP Hunger Walks.
Today, CROP Hunger Walks are community-wide events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local churches or groups to raise funds to end hunger at home and around the world. More than 2,000 communities across the U.S. join in more than 1,300 CROP Hunger Walks each year. More than 5 million CROP Hunger Walkers have participated in more than 36,000 CROP Hunger Walks in the last two decades alone.
In FY 2014, there were 116,027 participants in CROP Hunger Walks in the United States. Altogether they were able to raise more than $12 million, nearly a quarter of which supported more than 2,200 food pantries and soup kitchens in all.
Eradicating hunger and fighting poverty remains a cornerstone of Church World Service’s mission. The solution isn’t just about getting people more food – CWS promotes food security with programs that empower communities with sustainable agricultural skills, provide water resources necessary to grow crops and support nutrition education as well as land rights. For example, in Latin America CWS works with indigenous communities to make sure they have the right methods and seeds to produce enough food regardless of the changing environment or where over-development may force them to live.