A stroll to combat world hunger

HOUGHTON – Chuck Williams is new to Houghton, but for about 15 years he’s participated in CROP walks in various parts of Michigan, and Sunday, he added Houghton and Hancock to his list.

The pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Houghton was at his church registering to take part in the event created to raise money to fight hunger and provide other services in the U.S. and around the world.

One of the services provided by the funds raised by CROP walks is bringing safe drinking water to people who may not otherwise have it, which Williams said is very important.

“We take water for granted around here,” he said.

Williams said he also appreciates the fact some of the money raised by CROP – an acronym for Christian Rural Overseas Program, founded in 1969 – stays local.

Carol Korpela, coordinator of the Copper Country CROP Walk and representative of Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, said participants get pledges of money for taking part in the event. The money is used to provide food and other services, including safe drinking water. In some parts of the world, people have to walk many miles to get safe drinking water, which was one of the original inspirations for the CROP Walk.

“We walk because they walk,” she said.

The original purpose of CROP Walk was to raise funds for food, but Korpela said its mission has changed over the years, and the funds raised also provide assistance after natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes and tornadoes around the world and in the U.S.

Korpela said the CROP Walk includes many denominations taking part.

“It’s an ecumenical effort among churches,” she said.

Korpela said locally, CROP Walk has taken place every year since 1989, normally with 75 to 80 participants.

Korpela said 75 percent of funds raised from each CROP Walk goes to the national organization headquarters. The remaining 25 percent stays local. The local contribution will be used for the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly and Salvation Army food pantry programs.