CROP walk adds extra activities

October 11, 1998



photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Emily Swain of Leitersburg is just 13 years old but spent her Sunday afternoon chalking up community service points toward graduation while fighting hunger.

The eighth-grader earned 10 points by participating with members of The First Christian Church Youth group and other volunteers in the 1998 area CROP Walk fund-raiser.

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Swain said she was not taking part in the event just for the points.

"It's a nice day out and good exercise," said Swain, who was walking with her mother, Debora.

It is also a good way to help others, she said.

Swain was one of 59 First Christian Youth group members to attend, she said.


"We wanted to help people in other countries raise money for farming equipment and to build wells to have fresh water," said Debora.

A total of 180 walkers covered the six-mile course under sunny skies and 75-degree temperatures.

Under the direction of the Rev. Torben Aarsand of the Haven Lutheran Churches, chairman, the Christian Rural Outreach Program Walk expanded to a series of events this year.

The fund-raiser is sponsored by the Washington County Council of Churches.

Kicking off the events on Oct. 3 was a choral festival with the Mason-Dixon Chorus and other barbershop groups at the First Christian Church Sanctuary, 1345 Potomac Ave. The performances raised about $219 and 25 bushels of food for the charity, said Aarsand.

On Saturday, 42 children skated for two hours to earn $1,300 during a skate-a-thon at the Starland Roller Rink.

And on Sunday, the six-mile walk and 5-kilometer run on the North Hagerstown High School cross-country course also raised $17,000.

Linda Hood of Hagerstown was participating in the fund-raiser for the second year. Walking briskly, she said she was doing her part because it is a good cause and to help her son Ben, 15, earn his 10 points.

"He's out walking, too, but he's not as fast as me," she said with a laugh. Together the mother and son raised $80.

Walkers representing about 16 congregations began at First Christian Church on Potomac Avenue. Participants walked down Oak Hill Avenue to North Potomac Street, turned left onto Franklin Street, turned the corner at Winter Street and walked down Washington Avenue and Washington Street. They then made their way down Prospect Street to Baltimore Street, briefly on to Summit Avenue and then turned right on Antietam Street before heading up Locust Street back toward the church.

Overall, Aarsand said he was pleased with how the events went this year and will evaluate each to see whether to do the same next year.

"Each event appealed to different people. The kids liked the roller skating and rollerblading. Mostly adults participated in the walk and concert," he said.

Aarsand said 75 percent of the money raised by the CROP event will go to Church World Services, the national event organizer. That money will be used to fight hunger throughout the world.

The remaining 25 percent will remain in Washington County and be distributed to area food pantries.

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