It’s More Than Raising Money

Andrew Gifford | November 14, 2014

CROP Hunger Walkers in Toledo, Ohio. Photo: Courtesy Andrew Gifford

CROP Hunger Walkers in Toledo, Ohio. Photo: Courtesy Andrew Gifford

I’m going to be honest, before a few months ago I had never actually walked in a CROP Hunger Walk before in my life. My involvement with CWS was through theCWS Blanket Sunday my church did every Mothers’ Day. But what an experience it has been to see communities come together to raise funds and build awareness towards hunger needs both in their local communities as well as all around the world!

It may sound cheesy, but it really was encouraging to me to see faith communities and groups who otherwise would disagree on a great number of things willingly come together as a unified body to really make a significant impact toward this very great need.

Before I go too far down any number of rabbit holes, let me get to the point. Hunger is a significant issue! One in five kids in America doesn’t know where his or her next meal is coming from! AND hunger is the world’s number one health risk (it kills more people than AIDS, malaria and TB combined)! That’s CRAZY! The other crazy thing is that we already produce enough food in this world that nobody should have to go hungry, yet obviously from those stats they do!

If all that’s true, why don’t we hear more about hunger? I really think it’s because hunger isn’t a “cool” issue. And believe me, after living in the “hipster” mecca of Ohio (i.e. Columbus) the past several years, I can at least identify “cool.” It just seems that there are so many other issues out there that are getting press, yet hunger is still such a serious problem both locally and globally.

I’m not advocating we take away from those other important issues, I just think people need to be made aware…

That’s where the CROP Hunger Walk comes in…

One of the coolest experiences I had at the Columbus CROP Hunger Walk dealt directly with this idea of awareness. This year we had to move locations due to construction downtown in the city. We moved to a Metro Park just a few blocks south of downtown that’s heavily utilized on the weekends. As I was greeting groups upon arrival to go for the Walk a man walking his dogs came up to me and asked me what we were doing and who we were. After a brief conversation about CWS and the way CROP Hunger Walks make a positive difference on hunger issues both locally and globally, that man wrote a check right then and there.

Boom… Awareness.

Not only that, but I heard countless stories after groups came back from their Walk having spoken with other people using the trails and informing them why we were walking that day.

It’s hard to measure that kind of impact, but a part of me thinks that despite all the money raised even if we helped bring awareness of the issue of hunger to just one person that day what a difference that person could help us make as we continue to strive to “eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice around the world.”

Andrew Gifford is the Assistant Field Director in CWS’s Ohio Region.