Dozens of Islanders will put on their sneakers and join the 15th annual Vineyard Crop Walk this Sunday, October 16, beginning at 2 pm to help relieve hunger both here and worldwide. The 10-kilometer walk begins and ends at St. Augustine's Church inVineyard Haven. Walk coordinator the Rev. Alden Besse noted, "Rain or shine, we walk because they walk."
The Vineyard Crop Walk has set a goal of 200 participants, and hopes to raise $20,000 in pledges to help stop hunger through the disaster relief and self-help development work of national Crop Walk sponsor Church World Service (CWS). One-quarter of the funds raised here will go to the Island Food Pantry. Last year, pantry volunteers provided free food to some 350 families. Since its inception in 1991, the Vineyard Crop Walk has raised $202,977.
Speaking at the Crop Walk Rally in September, Northeast Regional Director William Wildey reported that Church World Service delivered its initial shipment of medicines and supplies to Baton Rouge, La. within the first three days following Hurricane Katrina. To date, CWS has sent more than $300,00 in donated material assistance to affected areas, including boxes of medicines and antibiotics for 20,000 hurricane victims for three months.
CWS has almost 60 years experience in disaster response and recovery in the United States and 80 foreign countries. For example, crop walks enable CWS to continue programs to bring emergency help to refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan, where two million people have been burned out of their villages. They also make it possible to bring hope to children of Kenya and other developing countries where CWS agencies are repairing schools and providing nutritious meals and health care.
Crop Walk, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2 pm, begins at St. Augustine's Church, Vineyard Haven. For more information, call the Rev. Alden Besse, 508-693-3930.