Annual CROP Walk raises money, awareness of local hunger, poverty

Participants gathered in the parking lot at Second Presbyterian ahead of the walk.
Participants gathered in the parking lot at Second Presbyterian ahead of the walk.

Several hundred people braved a hot Sunday afternoon to raise awareness of hunger, and about 20 of them were young people wearing orange T-shirts from Crestwood Christian Church.

“We have a long tradition of doing this,” said Casey McDonald, Crestwood’s middle school youth director. “We’re always interested in being involved with other church communities.”

Church communities and individuals have been gathering for 29 years in Lexington for the annual CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Walk to raise money to fight hunger in Central Kentucky and around the world. About 25 percent of the money raised goes to God’s Pantry and the rest to the Church World Service, which started the national walk. Organizer Judy Maxson said she hoped to surpass last year’s goal of $25,000.

The walk started at Second Presbyterian Church and continued three miles through downtown and the East End. Crestwood’s McDonald said this year’s walk was special because the middle school youth spent a week this summer at a Food Justice seminar at Transylvania University, and they would retrace their steps downtown.

“They worked with organizations like Seedleaf, learning about neat volunteer opportunities to work on hunger,” McDonald said. Seedleaf has created numerous community gardens around Lexington to improve healthy food access.

Another organization at the CROP Walk was, co-founded by U2’s Bono, which is dedicated to eliminating poverty worldwide. “This event is a good fit for us,” said volunteer Angelique Bell. As part of the group, Atif Saeed of the Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque on Russell Cave Road and Rick Clewett of the Temple Adath Israel joined forces at the walk.

“This is one community,” Clewett said. “It’s important to demonstrate that we work together, we are one.”

Linda Blackford: 859-231-1359, @lbblackford