MV CROP Hunger Walk concludes with celebration

The 31st Martha’s Vineyard CROP Hunger Walk concludes its activities at St. Augustine’s Church. 


A small but enthusiastic crowd gathered Sunday to celebrate the accomplishments of the Martha’s Vineyard CROP Hunger Walk, which had participants from various religious organizations on the Island. People swayed and chattered as the Convertibles, a Vineyard-based jazz band, played. Drivers also showed up in cars and honked in support. 

The closing ceremony for the 31st Martha’s Vineyard CROP Hunger Walk was held at St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven. Woody Bowman, one of the CROP Walk’s organizers, led the event. 

Under normal circumstances, a group would gather at the church to walk to the Oak Bluffs Campground and back, according to organizer Majorie Peirce. However, to keep people safe from COVID-19, the organizers decided on a smaller-scale gathering at the church. 

The walkers did their fundraising individually or in small teams of friends and family this year. This was also in an effort to keep participants safe from COVID, and was how the walk was done in 2020. From the money raised, 25 percent of the funds will be given to Island Food Pantry and the Vineyard Committee on Hunger. The rest of the money will be donated to Church World Services, a multidenominational Christian nonprofit organization, and used in “the U.S. and globally for emergency food supplies, agricultural training, livestock, wells and pumps, farm seeds, and farm equipment,” according to the Martha’s Vineyard CROP Hunger Walk page.

Through the online campaign, $16,254.79 has been raised so far. In-person donations still need to be counted. Donations will continue to be collected until Oct. 30. 

“These walks have made a difference,” Bowman said. He expects more donations to come in during the remaining two-week period. 

“Last year … we collected maybe half of the money after the celebration,” Peirce said. In 2020, a record-breaking $37,772 was raised in an effort to fight hunger. 

The event organizers also gave out awards to those involved with the walk. Bowman handed out three awards to recognize the “hunger fighters” who were instrumental in supporting fundraising efforts over the years. Good Shepherd Parish (the collective Catholic organization consisting of St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven, Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Oak Bluffs, and St. Elizabeth’s Church in Edgartown), was awarded for its congregants’ efforts to raise money and conduct activities to fight hunger on the Island. The Rev. Michael R. Nagle, retired, who created a home base for the walk and pushed forward various programs and activities dealing with food insecurity, was recognized. Finally, St. Augustine’s Church facilities manager Joe Capobianco was named; he was instrumental in maintaining relations with the Boston Food Bank and his efforts to get food and supplies to people who needed it during the winter were cited. Unfortunately, the two individuals were unable to attend the event to receive their awards. 

There were also some certificates presented to walkers, such as one to a new group of participating youngsters from the youth group of the Federated Church of Martha’s Vineyard, and to the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center for the largest increase in participants. 

The event concluded with a prayer from the Rev. Paul Fedak from Good Shepherd Parish, giving thanks to all those who spent their time, talents, and efforts to fight hunger. 

“No one should really go on without food in our country today, or in our world. We ask you, Lord, to send your blessings upon them and help them,” Fedak prayed. “And help all of us to love our brothers and sisters, as you love us.” 

For more information about the Martha’s Vineyard CROP Hunger Walk, visit