If you happened to be in downtown Delaware last Sunday, you might have noticed what appeared to be a parade of people heading north on Sandusky Street, passing afternoon diners and shoppers.
If you looked closely at the stream of walkers, you could see the stickers and balloons identifying participants in the Delaware CROP Walk.
The pre-walk gathering filled the big campus room with people from different churches and organizations, many who were college students and some in matching team shirts. Kudos to Ohio Wesleyan University and their response to Methodist Day of service!
We received a sincere bilingual thank you from People In Need in Delaware who will benefit from the portion of funds that remain in the local area. According to information on their website, this year CROP hunger walks will share almost $3 million with food banks, pantries, community gardens and other local efforts across the U.S. This support is made possible when local CROP hunger walkers chose the option of returning up to 25 percent of what their walk raises to hunger-fighting programs in their own community.
Sunday, Oct. 11. offered a most perfect fall walking day — warm enough to shed sweaters with a blue sky, gentle breeze and the smell of autumn leaves in the air. It couldn’t have been better. “Keep making left turns,” we were told by organizers when we admitted that our group was a bit disoriented looking at the route map.
Waves of walkers left the campus center, heading south on Washington Street where porch sitters and lawn tenders greeted us warmly. Then left on London and left on Sandusky for a long stretch through the downtown business area, passing the courthouse. Turning left off Sandusky and onto Fountain allowed us to continue through several historic and charming Delaware neighborhoods.
When our group lost sight of the walkers ahead and was wondering if we would know where to turn, our questions were answered by sign-carrying guides. Turn left on Washington and head back toward Hamilton Williams student center.
A stop at Asbury Methodist church offered welcome drinks of cold water, energy-boosting candy and locally grown apples, as well as kind words. There were 10 in our entourage, including a 2-year-old in her stroller, Winston, the dog who reveled in meeting other dogs and exploring all he could on leash length, and a determined 5-year-old who shared the lead with a long-legged teenager for most of the three miles. The adults followed, chatting and taking in the landscaping and festive fall decorations.
People of all ages were walking for a cause — a very good cause. The walk brochure inspired us: CROP hunger walks help to provide food and water, as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs. From seeds and tools, to wells and water systems, to technical training and micro-enterprise loans, the key is people working together to identify their own development priorities, their strengths and their needs – something Church World Service has learned through some 68 years of working in partnership around the world.
In John 10:10 — in a passage known as The Parable of the Good Shepherd — Jesus tells the listeners: I have come so that people might have life that is more abundant, more and better life beyond your dreams. Church World Service is working to better lives of people around the globe. They are committed to alleviating hunger and poverty by inviting people to participate in sustainable local development initiatives.
CROP hunger walks are ecumenical, interfaith, multi-cultural, multi-generational events. For many years, on a Sunday afternoon in early October, people from churches and other groups in the Delaware area have been taking small steps for a big cause. Maybe you should plan to recruit some sponsors and join the crowd next fall. Also, it is never too late to make a donation on behalf of the local walkers to offer a chance for a better life for people around the world.
The Rev. Virginia Teitt is organizing pastor of Concord Presbyterian Church, a church plant that currently worships in the Concord Township community building.