Since it’s establishment in Oak Park in 1984, the CROP Hunger Walk has raised over $1.3 million to help fight local and global hunger. This year on Sunday, May 1, CROP Walk leaders are ready to do even more for agencies in and around Oak Park with a goal to raise $100,00, the largest amount of money local organizers have ever raised during the Walk’s 32-years.
“Hunger continues to be a problem for our neighbors and all around the world,” said this year’s CROP Walk Grand Marshal Doug Wyman. “We are as determined as ever to address this issue.”
The walk will begin and end at Pilgrim Congregational Church on 460 Lake St. Registration will start at 1 p.m. with walkers stepping off at 2 p.m., and the walkathon will move forward no matter the weather. The 2016 Hunger Walkathon West (HWW) route will take walkers through the Austin community on Chicago’s far west side as well as various residential and commercial neighborhoods in Oak Park. The main Walk is roughly 5.5 miles, however, a shorter three-mile walk is also available.
Beneficiaries for the Walk include the Pine Avenue Food Pantry, the Cluster Tutoring Program, the Oak Park-River Forest, Forest Park, Proviso and Quinn Center food pantries, Housing Forward and the international relief and development programs of Church World Service.
Accompanying the Walk on May 1 will be a variety of kids activities, including face painting and coloring for children, as well as food and refreshments available at the Pilgrim Congregational, Third Unitarian and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church rest stops.
According to event Co-Chair Joanne Despotes, the CROP Walk team is happy to include a stroll through the Austin community in its route this year. The Walk’s commitment to the Austin community is reflected in the route coursing through parts of Chicago’s west-side neighborhood and through some of the beneficiaries being based in Austin.
“Walking through Austin is not really new for us, as we previously had routes that included Austin and we have always had participants and recipients from the Austin community,” Despotes said. “But this year it seemed especially appropriate and important to show solidarity with the members of that community.”