Grinnellians to CROP walk for hunger


By Mira Tellegen

Community members will take to the streets and walk in the annual CROP walk to raise money for food pantries in Poweshiek County and across the United States on Oct. 6.

The CROP walk, similar to a walk-a-thon, is a fundraiser run nationally by the Church World Service, a nonprofit organization that fights hunger and food insecurity.

The First Presbyterian Church works with other local churches through the Grinnell Ministerial Association to coordinate the Grinnell CROP walk, according to pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Kirsten Klepfer. Twenty-five percent of the money raised goes to the Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA), Montezuma and Brooklyn Food Pantries in Grinnell and the rest is sent to the Church World Services for distribution on a national level, according to Klepfer.

Walkers ask people to sponsor them, ask them to donate, Klepfer said. That money gets sent in to Church World Service, but we get back 25 percent of what we raise, back into our local community.

This year the CROP walk will begin at 10 a.m. on Oct. 6, and walkers will leave the Presbyterian Church and march through town and around the campus in a two-mile loop.

Klepfer said that CROP walks began in 1970 in North Dakota, and the Church World Service has run them ever since.

It began with farmers who were gathering leftover harvest in order to feed people around the world, and it took off from there,Klepfer said. Now there are walks in a thousand cities across the United States, and all of those communities raise money.

According to Klepfer hunger is an issue in Poweshiek County and the CROP walk is important because it helps those in need. MICA Food Pantry Center Manager Tracey Gerard said that MICA helped 285 households in August 2018.

There’s still a lot of food-insecure people in our community and in this country and in the world for sure, so whatever efforts we can make to help feed people are good,Klepfer said.

Klepfer also said the CROP walk raises awareness about hunger and food insecurity, since the participants walk around town and carry signs, and this year all participants will wear black shirts.

The idea is to raise awareness, both of the problem of hunger, but also to raise awareness of how we in our local community address issues of food insecurity through our local food pantries, Klepfer said.

Those interested in participating in the CROP walk or finding out more can contact Klepfer at the First Presbyterian Church for more information. Those interested in donating online can go to