Martha’s Vineyard walkers pound the pavement for a good cause

The CROP Walk made its way down Union Street through Vineyard Haven on the way to Oak Bluffs. — Photo by Susan Waldrop

The weather and turnout Sunday afternoon was great for the 23rd annual CROP Walk, sponsored by the Island Clergy Association, the Island Food Pantry, and the Vineyard Committee on Hunger.

CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty. It was established by churches to help them and others of faith and good will respond to the great needs of the poor across the country and internationally.

A group of more than 70 people kicked off the walk at St. Augustine Church in Vineyard Haven and hiked to Oak Bluffs and back. Bagpiper Tony Peak provided a medley of lively tunes to help the walkers keep pace, attracting attention from pedestrians and motorists unaware of the event and the reason for a piper.

“It was full of enthusiasm and there were about 71 walkers,” the Reverend Alden Besse, one of the organizers, said, “and quite a few made it all the way and back.”

Mr. Besse said the group hopes to raise $20,000. He said “a few generous and reasonably prosperous parishioners” have agreed to contribute 20 cents for every dollar raised.

The Vineyard receives a quarter of the proceeds, which also help those in need on the Vineyard, in the country, and around the world.

Over the years the CROP Walk has raised more than $359,000, Rev. Besse said. Contributions and pledges may be dropped off from 2 to 3pm, Sunday, Nov. 10, at St. Augustine Church. For more information or to contribute, call Mr. Besse at 508-693-3930.