CATTARAUGUS - A pair of comfy sneakers will be the preferred footwear, come Sunday. That's when Cattaraugus CROP Walk 2010 steps out once again to raise money and awareness for fighting world hunger. Incidentally, a full 25 percent of all funds raised go toward local purposes.
Participants should gather at Victory Tabernacle on South Main Street, at 1:30 p.m. to register. The walk, which is laid out to cover about 3.1 miles (or 5K) of village sidewalk, starts at 2:00 p.m.
The route has been laid out in such a way that it passes by every church in the community, starting first with the two located on Washington Street, Saint Mary's Catholic and United Methodist, the latter being available also as a water and restroom stop. Later the course goes by Saint John's Church of Christ on Ellicott Street and Roberts Memorial Free Methodist Church on South, before returning to Victory Tabernacle, where refreshments will be offered. For the faint of heart (or knee) a shorter course turns back at the United Methodist Church.
In this photo, furnished by the Church World Service, a Cambodian child harvest green, leafy vegetables grown from seeds purchased through the efforts of CROP Walkers on the opposite side of the world.
Over the years, the CROP Hunger Walk has become an enjoyable way for friends and neighbors to walk and talk together, while serving a larger, more serious purpose. Folks from around the Cattaraugus area have been "walking" ever since 1991, when Pastor Frank Wood first started the project locally. This year, it's being coordinated by Ms Kay Ross-Dobbertin.
The "CROP" in CROP Hunger Walks is actually an acronym, the letters of which stand for: Communities Responding To Overcome Poverty. The walking, too, is symbolic because in many developing countries, people typically walk as many as six miles every day simply to gather enough food, water and fuel to sustain themselves. In other words, CROP walkers choose to walk because hungry people have to walk.
One of the most beautiful things about any CROP Walk is its inclusiveness. People of different ages, of different faiths (or of no discernible faith) gather for a common cause. They stroll, they stride, they toddle, waddle, trot and totter--it doesn't really matter, because they share the same goal--to help. Who can forget Reverend Wood, staunchly wheeling his wife, Polly's, wheelchair along one memorable CROP Walk not long before she passed.
Area churches participating in this year's CROP Walk are: East Leon Wesleyan Church, Free Methodist Church of East Otto, Napoli United Methodist Church, Roberts Memorial Free Methodist Church, United Methodist Church of East Otto, Victory Tabernacle, Wesleyan Church of Little Valley and Wesleyan Church of Cattaraugus.
A couple of weeks still remain for participants to line up their sponsors. There'll even be time for an autumn amble or two, just to get warmed up. Persons who feel they can't do the walk can support it in other, equally important ways, not the least of which is to act as a sponsor. Volunteers will also be needed to help with registration and refreshments.
The largest amount ever raised by the Cattaraugus CROP Walk during its recorded years was $4,234 in 2001. Organizers would dearly love to surpass that record in 2010.
For more information, call Kay at 257-9661.