It had rained all morning, so we were delighted that the rain stopped in time for the Agawam/West Springfield, MA CROP Hunger Walk this spring.
It was in the upper 40s, but we stayed fairly warm during the three-mile walk along puddle-filled sidewalks. Our three-year-old enjoyed being pushed in the stroller over the water puddles and looking at the cars and trucks driving by (although he wasn’t a fan of the sounds when they’d honk out their support to us).
We made it to the half way point and I could see my eight-year-old losing steam quickly. I tried to distract him to make the walk go more quickly by talking about things we were excited about for the summer and trying to solve math problems (his favorite subject). I also offered to sing songs, but he quickly nixed that idea! I couldn’t be prouder of him and his perseverance at walking all three miles by himself despite that fact that his legs were really getting tired. He was motivated to finish knowing there are some girls his age that walk that much every day while also carrying 40 pounds of water.
Before we walked, the boys were looking at a CWS display table that showed a bottle of dirty water asking, “would you wash, drink, cook with this water?” It was special for me to use that display to have age-appropriate conversations with both children about the disparities in our world and why we were walking and raising funds to help make our world better and more just.
We were humbled by the support of our family and friends whose contributions helped reinforce this moment. We had 26 people help us raise almost $1000! The funds will help ensure that women and girls in Kenya won’t have to walk as far to get access to safe, clean water and will also support communities in Indonesia raise chickens providing them with both protein from eggs and income from egg sales.
I’m so thankful that by participating in the CROP Hunger Walk, my family can make a difference in the world, but can also be part of a community, hands-on experience that helps me as a parent teach them to be engaged and loving citizens in our world.
Erin Luchenbill is an Associate Community Engagement Specialist with CWS in New England.