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CROP to Stop Hunger

October 5, 2009 at 1:57 pm
By Margaret Taylor '10

For several years, the Chaplain’s Office has been participating in an interfaith event in the Northfield community to raise awareness about international poverty and hunger.  Northfield’s CROP walk usually passes without much attention from Carleton students, so this year Sarah Prather ’11 and Mandie Grover ’12 decided to change that.

Sarah and Mandie are both first-year Chaplain’s Associates who have been hard at work getting the word out about the CROP walk to Carls with postering and table tents.  CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty, and Northfield’s walk is a local chapter of events that take place all across the country.

“It’s been a big deal putting it all together,” says Mandie.  “After this week, life will be sane again.”

Their publicity efforts paid off.  Carleton’s CROP walk team had an excellent turnout this year.  On Sunday afternoon, about ten students, Carolyn Flure-Slocum, and one dog assembled in front of Sayles hill to carpool to the walk start point.  We all wore red shirts to symbolize the red in the stop sign in CROP walk’s logo – putting a stop to hunger.

The event was open to the entire Northfield community, so there were teams from church groups all over town as well as Carleton and St. Olaf assembling at Bethel Lutheran Church, the start point.  Some teams were marching to raise awareness, while others had gotten sponsors to donate to the cause or donated money themselves.  The proceeds from the CROP walk go to Church World Service, an agency that fights hunger in third-world countries, while 25% returns to Northfield anti-hunger organizations.  The registration room was crowded with all the townies and gownies getting ready to walk, but we elbowed our way past the drum band and the tri-fold boards to sign up at the registration table.

After a quick pep talk at two o’clock, it was time for us to stream out the door to “Siyahamba.”  The walk would take us from North Avenue (near St. Olaf) down to Bridge Square, a distance of about two miles.  People carried signs with slogans like “We walk because they walk,” and “Alas de Esperanza.”  Our spirits were further bolstered with encouraging signs and sidewalk chalkings along the way.  While we walked, the line straggled out and people chatted with each other.  Mandie hopes that Carleton students will get involved in the walk.

“We'd really like to raise awareness of hunger, which we tend to forget about so often but which is a daily reality for most of the world's population.”

We all bunched up again at St. Dominic’s in order to cross the highway en masse.  The walk finally ended with a celebration at Bridge square, where we enjoyed music by The Porch Collective, a Carleton band and, appropriately for an anti-hunger walk – apples.