5 Decades of Walking to End Hunger

5 Decades of Walking to End Hunger

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

40th CROP Walk View from your Coordinator, Janie Schildge

Our Red Bank Area Crop Hunger Walk is well known around the Two River Area, and back in 2012 when we were battered by Hurricane Sandy, Church World Service came to our aid with relief funds and materials for the New Jersey, New York area. This was an eye opener for all who had walked in past decades and knew that
CWS responded to disasters, and cared for displaced people all over the world, and now right here at home in New Jersey. Nearly all the funds raised over decades by our region, came back to help us. Walkers gave never expecting to be on the receiving end.

Our CROP Hunger Walk is unique, in that we can choose to fund local hunger fighting programs in Monmouth County. Many CROP participants volunteer with these programs that are partners of CROP Walk. 

Our Walk has raised over $100,000 annually since 2000. In recession or times of natural disasters, we have had fewer funds but much more food as in 2012, and health kits and cleanup kits that filled a huge need. Now in 2020 we face a world wide pandemic that has really changed our lives. We were able to carry out our vision of fighting hunger and poverty for our 40th Anniversary!  

Due to Covid restrictions we couldn't gather at Red Bank Regional HS, walk through towns, or pile up our food collections under the tent at school for all to see. Pantry volunteers couldn't pick up bags of food to fill their shelves for hungry families. That didn't stop us from going from Plan A to Plan B, thanks to the forward thinking of Janis Iwanyk when we were making up our 2020 brochure  back in April. That Plan B went into effect as we watched the closings of many schools, few or no graduations, weddings, proms, and more.   
All meetings were held by zoom, a few work sessions were held outside with masks and distancing, and we chose not to design a new T shirt, but instead to honor our sponsors by subscribing to a full page Advertisement in The Journal, which reached out to 32,000 area subscribers. The creative writing by Lori Draz was featured in four months of The Journal. We are very grateful for the patience and interest of The Journal staff for helping us share our vision of CROP Walk during the time of Covid!   

First Baptist Church of Red Bank hosted our Park and Pick Up of materials back in September, and then Red Bank United Methodist hosted the Drive By and Drop Off on CROP Walk Sunday, October 18th where we celebrated reaching the $100,000 goal and a small group joined together for an online Facebook Live produced by Checker Liar Pictures’ own 

Eric Hackler. The three hour extravaganza was an expertly woven montage of local musical talent and Red Bank Crop Walk history in picture and story.  It is now available for viewing on our You Tube Channel. CROP Walk 2020  
Thank you to all who made these events possible, as each required distancingsafetytime, talent,  and energy. Our Teen Leaders set up online teams, and sold many masks and bandanas to benefit Crop Walk, raising about $2000 and advertising our 40th year. We have bandanas available through venmo or email us at redbankcropwalk@gmail.com, and they make very useful stocking stuffers for the holidays, and doggie neckwear too! 

the month of October individual groups planned events, walked miles for 40 years, and collected food for CROP local partners and pantries throughout Monmouth County. My husband and I chose to walk 4 miles a day at least five days a week and we have been pretty diligent in that task. Polly and Steve Chu chose to walk 40 miles and they went above and beyond. Our most famous team, Monica Fayett and her two poodles challenged themselves to go 400 miles in 10 weeks and posted on Facebook with tremendous response from the community. 

This year our CROP Walk goal was $110,000 and we had to create a new goals thermometer to show donations that are now up to $125,000 due to the generosity and compassion of so many CROP walk supporters.   

Thank you all for helping us go the extra mile for all the families hurt by the pandemic, and by the loss of jobs, and business closings.  If we look out for each other and reach out in small ways and large ways to help bridge the gaps for those who need some extra TLC, we will be ok.   

Through the use of Face book and Instagram, stories were shared, and art from past years and from 2020 were shared Pictures  tell a story.   We have amazing banners and posters that really express what it means to be hungry, what causes hunger and how each of us can make a difference.  

81 online teams registered from faith groups, schools, civic groups, and individuals. Funds were also raised off line using envelopes. Our committees offered ideas and flexibility so each group could plan its own event and do its own food collection. They selected an area pantry to collect and deliver food to.   Our 2020 participants collected about 8500 pounds of rice, beans, soup, and peanut butter, and we have widened our circle of caring to include Back Pack Crew, St. Catherine’s RCC Pantry in Holmdel, St. James Episcopal in Long Branch, and Asbury UMC in AP, along with our 15 local partners who are on the front lines all year long. 

This 40th Anniversary was unlike any others, but that didn't affect the success of this valuable community event. Thank you so very much for believing in our Plan and working with us to completion so that people can eat and feel safe and stay well because of our efforts. 

We offer our very best wishes for everyone to share a safe and healthy Thanksgiving with your immediate families. Don't forget to set up a Zoom call to share in your gathering with those not in your safe bubble. No matter the way we do it, when we care, we share the love. 

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