At 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14, Lawrence students and members of the Appleton community gathered to take part in the CROP Walk. Each year, Lawrence students involved in CROP (Communities Respond to Overcome Poverty) organize the walk for the Appleton community.The event was mostly headed up by Students’ War Against Hunger and Poverty, but involved other campus organizations, such as Circle K and various residence hall teams.
Participants of the CROP Walk can walk one, three, or six miles. They do so in solidarity with those who need to walk that far every day to support their very existence. Junior Jeanelle Adams, who helped to organize the event, explained, “We walk for people in developing countries because every day people have to walk for miles to get food and water. We walk because they walk.”
She added, “We spend about a month planning it every year and it really pays off.” Indeed, last year about 100 Lawrentians walked and raised around $1,000 — enough to support community-based health, hygiene, and sanitation training for an entire community.
This year’s walk was not as successful. According to junior Casey Sautter, who was also involved in organizing the event, “About 40 people from Lawrence participated, which isn’t nearly as many as in past years, but the weather was far worse than any other year as well.”
The CROP Walk is a nationwide event. It takes place in more than 2,000 U.S. towns and cities, involving more than five million people in the past 20 years. Since 1987 CROP Walk has raised over 264 million dollars, and while the majority of that money has gone to developing countries, a quarter of it has stayed in the U.S.
CROP Walk organizers are allowed to keep 25% of the money they raise to fight hunger in their own communities.
The Appleton community was also quite involved in planning the walk and often had representatives present at planning meetings. Lawrentians who participated in the CROP Walk were excited about this connection.
Senior Elizabeth Corey, a SWAHP member and CROP Walk participant since the age of five, commented, “It’s great. There are lots of kids and everything. It’s a family event. It makes Lawrence visible to the community in a positive light. And that’s what it’s about — community.