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CROP Walk raises more than $15,000

October 01, 2000

CROP Walk raises more than $15,000



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


A crowd of people 315 strong took to the streets of Hagerstown's North End Sunday, some walking, others running to help the hungry.

The annual CROP Walk, sponsored locally by Washington County Council of Churches, raised more $15,000, said Bob Hyssong, executive director. A skate-a-thon was held in conjunction with the CROP Walk Saturday.

CROP walk is a program of Church World Service, a ministry that works to fight hunger in more than 80 countries. CROP stands for Christian Rural Overseas Program. The first CROP walk was 1969 in Bismarck, N.D. Now there are walks in about 2,000 communities.

One quarter of what is raised is used locally, officials said.

Last year's walk raised more than $13,000; more than $3,000 assisted Community Action Council, Council of Churches and the food bank at St. Mark's Lutheran Church.

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"It's a real problem in our community. People need to realize there are hungry people here, especially in the summer when kids don't get their free lunches," said Beth Stouffer, director of the Washington County Community Food Bank.

Organizers kicked off the walk/run at First Christian Church at 1345 Potomac Avenue. As participants marched from the parking lot a musical group performed "Onward Christian Soldiers," and each person walked through a balloon arch.

People chose to walk or run a one-mile or six-mile course. Some people even brought along their dogs.

Nearly double the amount of people participated this year than in 1999, said Hyssong.

Throughout the day volunteers listened to musical performances from The Sunday School Orchestra, St. John's Lutheran Church Praise Band, Praise Rehoboth United Methodist Church, Praise Team Smithsburg Valley Baptist Church and Trinity St. Andrews United Methodist Church.

"When we started walking and the music was playing and everyone was there, I got chills down my spine," said Marty Talton of Hagerstown, who was one of nine people from the Covenant Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown to put on their walking shoes to raise $600 for CROP Walk.

"It felt good that we were here doing this," she said.

Terri Baker, executive director of Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless, helped organize the event.

"Washington County is unique - everyone works together. We wouldn't be able to pull it off without everybody pulling together," she said.

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