Wittenberg students and the Springfield community came together on Sunday, Oct. 2 to raise support for hunger and poverty alleviation through the CROP Hunger Walk.
The CROP Hunger Walk is a Wittenberg tradition that started over 20 years ago. The walk is a community-wide event sponsored by Church World Services, a Christian ministry committed to “ending hunger at home and around the world.”
More than 50 people participated in Sunday’s event, which began and ended on Alumni Way, and raised $1050, exceeding last year’s event. Nationally, CROP has hosted 1,100 walks and raised over $11,000 just this year.
The walk is about more than just the money, according to co-coordinator Leah Markovich, ‘17. It is also an effort to alleviate hunger through advocacy.
“For me, this event is about getting people involved with a cause that I am passionate about,” said Markovich. “It’s always great to raise a lot of money, but if I can make people aware of the prevalence of hunger locally, nationally and globally, and get them motivated to do something about it, that is the biggest win I can ask for.”
Markovich’s co-coordinator, Maddie Weber, ‘17, agreed.
“I think CROP Walk is important for Wittenberg students because hunger is an issue that most people don’t think of as a prevalent issue,” said Weber. “Most students are able to get food or have resources to find food. I think it is important to spread awareness to the student body to show that it is an issue that is affecting way more people than we think and people in our own community.”
Local poverty alleviation is one of the main focuses of Springfield’s CROP Hunger Walk. Twenty-five percent of all proceeds stay locally in Springfield. These proceeds go to Second Harvest Food Bank, which distributes approximately four million pounds of food a year. According to Markovich, these funds are needed in the community, as Springfield was named the number one city for food insecurity in Ohio in 2015.
Markovich and Weber weren’t alone in coordinating the CROP walk this year. They were joined by a committee of Wittenberg students and the pastor’s office, which hosts the event each year. Plans for the walk begin each spring, and months of work go into making it happen. The committee prepares for the event through communication with CROP National Headquarters, hosting promotional events, raising funds and advocating for hunger awareness around campus.
Though coordinating this event came with stress, Markovich felt that the ability to make a difference made it all worthwhile.
“All of the time leading up to the event was really nerve-wracking,” Markovich said. “But to see the event come together and raise $200 more than we did last year is just the most amazing feeling.”