By Danielle Hopkins
Hundreds of Islanders participated in the annual CROP walk Sunday, October 23, to help raise hunger awareness. The route went from St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven to the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs. The high school’s Student Council, Interact, and various high school students participated and donated to the cause.
“I believe that everyone should be willing to contribute to the greater good. This walk collects food and money to help end hunger,” said Olsen Houghton, who has participated in the walk for over 10 years and is the faculty advisor for the Student Council and Interact club. “Ending hunger everywhere is important. How can you aspire to achieve something or be curious about something if you are struggling to get enough to eat?”
Senior Ellie Hanjian said, “Due to the fact that the United States is industrialized and a first world nation, it is easy to forget the poverty and food disparities that exist in our nation and on our Island. When we can bridge the gap between hunger and poverty, and wealth, we can begin to erase the classist nature of our country.”
“My first CROP Hunger Walk was when I was in seminary in 1978 and working with a Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. When we moved to the Vineyard to work at the FOCUS Study Center, we naturally gravitated to the MV CROP Walk, walking as often as we could,” said Woody Bowman, one of the leaders in this year’s CROP walk. Woody is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, as well as a longtime member of the West Tisbury Congregational Church. “Our goal for the walk is, first and foremost, to address the issues of hunger, globally and locally, providing food to those who need it, working to encourage self-sufficiency so that hunger is less and less a problem, and to address the underlying issues that make hunger the reality that so many millions face daily,” said Woody.
This event helps to bring together the community to serve a greater good, and have fun along the way. Senior and Secretary of the school’s Student Council, Emma Bunker has done the MV CROP walk for two years. “My favorite part of the CROP Walk is walking with people that I have never met or spoke with before and bonding with them over this meaningful experience,” Emma said. Last year was the 25th anniversary walk and the island raised a record of $25,350. The total for this year’s walk will be determined in about a week or two.
“The combined efforts of student government and the Interact club will raise around $1,500, which will be matched by the Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard,” Mr. Houghton said.
The MV CROP Walk is doing amazing things to help end the hunger epidemic in our nation as well as tie the community together to do so. “Personally, I’d like to see the MV CROP Hunger Walk create opportunities for people of all ages to examine and learn about the causes of and responses to hunger, to consider moral imperatives and practical responses, and get involved in ways that go far beyond each year’s CROP Walk,” said Mr. Bowman.
To learn more about the annual CROP walk visit http://www.crophungerwalk.org/vineyardhavenma.