B y Derek Liebig
A couple of hundred people will gather this Sunday in Fair Haven to combat hunger in the Lakes Region and beyond.
The 13th annual Fair Haven area CROP Walk will be held on Sunday, Sept. 29. Walkers will gather in the town green at 1:30 p.m. and the walk will begin around 2 p.m.
“The CROP Walk benefits local food shelves in Castleton, Poultney and Fair Haven,” Ceil Hunt, event promoter said. “We send Church World Services the proceeds and they send back a check.”
Last year’s event attracted nearly 200 people and most years the event raises upwards of $10,000, of which 25-percent benefited communities in the Lakes Region.
“Our goal this year is to have 200 walkers and raise $12,000,” Hunt said.
Participants raise money and then choose to walk one of three routes: They can walk around the town green; take a longer, two-mile route through town that will take walkers down Washington Street, and across Fourth Street before ending at the town green; or chose to take a five-mile route that goes out to the airport and back. The walk takes between one and two hours depending on the route that is selected.
Hunt said people can participate as individuals or groups, and several local businesses and schools plan to have teams of walkers. Local Boy Scouts help with set up and other technical aspects of the event.
“There a bunch of different organizations that support the CROP Walk,” Hunt said.
Anyone who collects at least $50 will receive a free T-shirt and anyone that raises $100 will receive a free shirt and hat, which was made by possible by donations from local businesses.
Following the walk, participants will gather on the town green and enjoy entertainment. There will be music, snacks and refreshments and children’s activities. Volunteers will also take photos of participating teams.
The CROP Walk is sponsored by Church World Services, a faith-based organization that responds to natural disasters, combats world hunger and offers humanitarian aid to improvised peoples around the world. CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty.
The first CROP Walk was held in Bismarck, N.D., in 1969 and the event is now held in more than 2,000 communities across the world.
Since its inception in 2001, the Fair Haven event has raised approximately $139,000 with $34,000 helping feed people in the in the communities of Fair Haven, Castleton, Poultney, Benson and Hubbardton.