CROP Hunger Walk set Sunday in Youngstown


MVAC and ACTION, two faith-based community organizations, are partnering for the fundraising event.

CROP Hunger Walk set Sunday in Youngstown

CROP Hunger Walk set Sunday in Youngstown



Church World Service touts its annual CROP Hunger Walk as “the original charitable walking event in the U.S.”

This year, there are some 1,400 walks across America, all focused on the issue of hunger, and Youngstown’s is among them.

The event Sunday is sponsored by Mahoning Valley Association of Churches joined this year by ACTION, Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods.

The CWS website,, lists 88 walks in Ohio in the spring and fall.

The Rev. Nora Smith, assistant pastor of Word of God Christ Fellowship (Grace Communion International) in Canfield and a hospice chaplain, is Youngstown’s CROP walk chairwoman.

She said there are 15 MVAC churches and 19 churches from ACTION scheduled to participate. Youth groups will be among the walkers and others are members of churches. Anyone may register to walk and need not be affiliated with a church. Last year, about 200 people participated.

CWS was organized by 17 denominations in 1946 after World War II. The next year, CWS, Lutheran World Relief and the National Catholic Welfare Program created a joint community hunger appeal, the Christian Rural Overseas Program, CROP. The program has changed but the acronym remains.

CROP also has a link to real crops of food, the Rev. Mrs. Smith said. At one time, 4-H and granges collected “extra” crops such as corn, wheat, rice and beans. CWS shipped the food to help needy people.

Mrs. Smith said Youngstown CROP Walk participants will register at 2 p.m. in Park Vista community room, 1216 Fifth Ave. There are two routes; one is in Wick Park and another is along Fifth Avenue to Rayen Avenue to Wick Avenue then to Broadway, returning to Park Vista.

Walkers will give donations they’ve already collected or collect pledge money after the walk. Twenty-five percent of the funds remain in the Valley and benefit hunger programs operated by Protestant Family Service, Catholic Charities and Fish Samaritan. PFW will provide water for walkers.

This year’s focus is on infant hunger, Mrs. Smith said. She said research has shown that what happens in the the first 1,000 days for infants makes a difference in the rest of their lives. “If they get the proper nutrition, they have a better chance of being healthy,” she said.

The minister also said though many people think of hunger issues as something faced by third-world countries, food insecurity is a reality in America and the Valley.

“The walk helps feed people in the Valley,” she said.

“It’s a unified effort of service,” said the Rev. Robbin Del Nagro, MVAC executive director, and adding she “is hoping for a big crop of participants.”

After the walks, participants will return to Park Vista for refreshments and apples provided by White House Fruit Farm.

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