Whitewater walks to help the hungry

The Christian Rural Overseas Program Hunger Walk offers an easy way to help people around the world by taking a stroll through Whitewater.

The CROP Hunger Walk, an event on Oct. 7, is organized by several community churches to raise money for the local food pantry and those in need all over the world.

This will be Whitewater’s 23rd CROP Hunger Walk, sponsored by Church World Service.


Pastor Kimberly Brumm is the campus minister at First United Methodist Church and one of the organizers of Whitewater’s CROP Hunger Walk.

She has been an organizer for the CROP Hunger Walk for six years, including two years in Whitewater.

“I don’t think many people in Whitewater understand that 14 percent of the population is at poverty level or below,” Brumm said.

CROP Hunger Walks were created to help the people who have been suffering from the sinking enconomy, Brumm said.

The CROP Hunger Walk allows everyone to help.  There is a one-mile option and a three-mile option, as well as opportunities for senior citizens to participate.

The Whitewater CROP Hunger Walk will begin at Fairhaven Senior Services and end at St. Luke’s Church.

The walk even makes a stop at the Whitewater Food Pantry for refreshments.

Brumm said it is “a nice place that people can stop in and see where their efforts are going to go to help the community.”

Brumm said she hopes to get students at UW-Whitewater more involved with the walk this year.

She is one of the advisors for the Habitat for Humanity group on campus and will work with them to get students involved.

Another way Brumm said she hopes to get students involved is to create “friendly competition” between school organizations, such as sororities and fraternities, sports teams and residence halls.

She said she looks at the CROP Hunger Walk as a win-win situation for participants, as this will offer a chance to get involved with the community.

“I think it’s important for people to realize that helping others can be fun,” Brumm said.

Seniors will also be participating in the walk. Fairhaven Senior Services is the starting point of the event, and those living there will be able to walk through the complex to participate in the CROP Hunger Walk.

Brumm said there will be a rocking chair option.  Seniors can sit in a chair and rock for the equivalent of one mile.

A light lunch will be served at St. Luke’s after the event.

“It is a good reminder that this might be all that some people get,” Brumm said.

CROP Hunger Walk started under the guidance of CWS in 1947.  Today’s mission is slightly different than in the past, but the acronym remains the same.

The first CROP Hunger Walk took place in October 1969 in Bismark, N.D.  Bob Barnhart, the managing regional director of CWS in the Midwest, started organizing these walks in 1971. CWS sponsors every walk in the nation.

There are currently over 1,600 CROP Hunger Walks in the U.S. every year.

In Wisconsin alone, nearly 50 walks are happening this fall, with more to come in the spring.  CWS estimates that it will raise $4 million in 2012.

“I think Wisconsin will raise $500,000 this year,” Barnhart said.

He also said he estimates that Whitewater’s CROP Hunger Walk will raise about $9,000.

Brumm said the community will be doing other events later in the fall connected to the CROP Hunger Walk, such as a bake sale and quilt raffle the local churches will coordinate.

Pledge packets can be found at the office of First United Methodist Church, which is spearheading the event.  Donations are also welcome.  The church’s goal for all participants is to raise $100.

Twenty-five percent of all money raised stays at the Whitewater Food Pantry, and the rest of the proceeds will go to CWS to donate across the U.S. and the world.

Registration opens at 12:30 p.m. at Fairhaven Senior Services, and the CROP Hunger Walk begins at 1 p.m. on Oct. 7.