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Walkers turn dollars to food, water and education

As a tangible way CROP Hunger Walk recruiters experience how funds are used, Church World Service (CWS) regional director Lynn Magnuson of Seattle opened a presentation at Mission Community Presbyterian Church in Spokane as if she were teaching a literacy class in Angola.

She not only taught letters, words and sentences, but also taught words and phrases related to CWS projects to improve water quality, control floods and secure a renewable food supply.

The 2007 walk will be Spokane’s 28th and Cheney’s 20th. 

In 2006, the Spokane-Cheney walk raised the most ever, $31,033.

The walk begins with registration and pre-walk activities from noon to 1:30 p.m., Sunday, April 29, at Martin Center at Gonzaga University.  Pre-walk activities include a Methodist tailgate party and entertainment by the Voices of the Homeless Choir, directed by the Rev. Redhawk Rice-Sauer of Covenant Christian Church.

There will also be a spring CROP Hunger Walk, starting at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 21, at Chief Kamiakin School in Sunnyside.  The ministerial association is helping organize the walk.

Through CWS, 35 denominations reach out to people in 80 countries, providing long-term disaster recovery, training people for disaster, developing self sufficiency, serving refugee communities and offering micro-loans to help people earn a living.

Walkers turn dollars into education, advocacy, human rights, immigration policies and international laws that assist people’s health, survival and wellbeing.

When CROP started 60 years ago as a program to gather grain crops from farmers, the acronym meant Christian Rural Overseas Program.  Now CROP refers to Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty.

“Our goal is to fuel hope for impoverished people everywhere.  It’s amazing what can happen when people work together to champion peace, justice and self-sufficiency around the world,” Lynn said.

She said that $100 provides clean water for 50 families in Cambodia; the cost of an iPod could buy a water buffalo in Asia and the cost of a video game could provide blankets for a family of five displaced from their village.

Twenty-five percent of the funds raised by Spokane walkers will go to Second Harvest, Spokane Valley Meals on Wheels, Mid-City Concerns and Interfaith Hospitality.  That percent of Cheney walkers’ funds will go to the Cheney Food Bank.

“People who cannot walk that day can find sponsors and walk on their own or with friends another day.  Youth might walk a mall during an overnight retreat and raise funds for CROP,” Lynn said.

Overall funds are increasing, paying for indigenous staff abroad and reaching more people.

Catholic walkers may designate for Catholic Relief Services.

For information, call 326-5656.