NORMAN — The Cleveland County CROP Walk to Stop Hunger will bring together hundreds of people from faith groups, businesses and organizations Oct. 6 to fight hunger and poverty locally and around the world.
Registration begins at 1:30 p.m. at Food and Shelter, 104 W. Comanche St. The three-mile, 30-to-45 minute walk-a-thon will start at 2 p.m. and wind through tree-lined streets and the University of Oklahoma campus.
Walk teams include churches, businesses, civic and professional organizations, families, friends and dog walkers. Individuals also can join and register on the day of the walk. Walkers are asked to turn in their donation envelopes at the registration tent.
Participants are encouraged to bring peanut butter and/or tuna cans or pouches to be donated to local food pantries.
CROP, or Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty, is a nationwide, ecumenical effort to raise awareness about the impact of hunger and poverty. The walk is one of more than 2,000 such events taking place across the country this year and has been a part of the community for more than 30 years. It is organized by volunteers from a variety of local faith communities.
Twenty-five percent of CROP Walk proceeds will be donated to Norman’s Food and Shelter, which provides emergency housing for homeless families, meals to the hungry and other vital services to those in need.
The remaining CROP Walk proceeds go to support hunger relief and development projects of the Church World Service across the United States and in more than 80 countries.
Although not affiliated with a particular church, the nonprofit agency’s efforts are supported by a coalition of more than 35 denominations and faith groups. Church World Service programs in the developing world focus on self help, economic and environmental sustainability, strengthening local communities and building self-reliance.
“In the past 10 years, our local CROP Walk has raised more than $150,000 to benefit people in need, both here and around the globe,” said CROP Walk chair Karen Buntin, noting that local CROP Walk organizers hope to raise more than $20,000 this year. “When you participate in CROP Walk, you are taking steps to alleviate hunger and poverty in the world’s neediest communities and right here in our own backyard.”
CROP Walk is a family orientated event. Before the walk, participants can enjoy face painting for kids, musical entertainment by Norman Public School’s Manyawi World Music Ensemble and a contingent of the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band. Members of local school and church choirs will lead the walk by playing the African marching song “Siyahamba.”
The After-Walk Celebration will include a hot dog cookout provided by First American Bank and dance music by DJ Adrian Buendia and Nexus Productions of Norman.
Food and Shelter will host an open house and provide tours of their agency before and after the walk. Rest stations along the route, staffed by local Girl Scouts, will offer water and restrooms, along with water and dog treats for leashed dogs. Those who are unable to physically join in the walk but want to contribute and participate are invited to join in for the festivities.
CROP Walk commemorative T-shirts will be available for $10 each on the day of the walk and will be awarded free to each walker who raises $100 or more in walk donations.
To learn more about the CROP Walk, call Buntin at 314-8348 or visit the walk website, clevelandcountycropwalk.org.