CROP Hunger Walk Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty Portland Responds

By Ron MacKenzie.
Published on February 7, 2011

On Saturday, April 9 people from various denominations and faith traditions in the Portland metropolitan area will gather at 10 a.m. downtown, corner of West Burnside and N.W. Third Avenue, to walk the annual Church World Service CROP Hunger Walk.  The CROP Walk demonstrates solidarity with those around the globe who struggle with poverty. During the 2.5 mile walk, participants will pass several homeless and low-income advocacy agencies and government buildings. Seventy-five percent of funds raised will go to Church World Service’s international relief and development programs, while 25% will go to agencies fighting hunger in our area–Oregon Food Bank and Northeast Emergency Food Program.

This year’s CROP Walk is unique in four ways.   It’s interfaith.  It’s in downtown Portland and will be visible to the public. The walk will include a Bread for the World Letter Offering, and there will be a feature-length documentary prior to the walk that asks why poverty still exists.

The documentary The End of Poverty will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 4 at First Congregational United Church of Christ of Portland, located at 1126 Southwest Park Avenue.  Movie goers will have the opportunity to see the film, eat pizza, and meet fellow participants of the CROP Hunger Walk.  Filmed in the slums of Africa and the barrios of Latin America, the documentary will serve as a clarion call for the walk’s cause. CROP Hunger Walk recruiting material will also be available for those who have not received packets.

The Church World Service CROP Hunger Walk is more than an annual fundraising event. It is an opportunity for participants to chip away at the structural evil that contributes to pushing millions of people world wide to living on the edge of subsistence. The key component is education.

Each CROP Walk recruiter’s packet comes with two educational DVDs, a Making Poverty History booklet, and an Education/Worship Resources brochure. Order more materials online at www.churchworldservice.org. Bread for the World also has excellent resources (e.g., Hunger No More and Sunday School curriculum to download at www.bread.org).  Consider asking your church to get involved as a Bread for the World Covenant Church.

It is by our collective efforts that we can make a difference. In the words of Sonia Johnson, “We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.” Join us on March 4 and April 9. Your faith community can make a difference!

Ron is active with the Social Justice Commission at First Congregational U.C.C. of Portland and a member of the Central Pacific Conference Justice and Witness Team. He is the Coordinator of the Greater Portland Church World Service CROP Hunger Walk.