With food insecurity having increased greatly for many people in the area and around the world, and many local friends and neighbors struggling to buy food for themselves and their families, members of Salisbury’s United Congregational Church (UCC) are gearing up for Northwest Connecticut’s 38th annual, a second virtual, CROP Hunger Walk.

CROP Hunger Walks are community-based walk events held in cities and towns across the United States, raising funds to support the global mission of Church World Service, a faith-based organization transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement and disaster. Twenty five percent of the funds raised are returned to the host community to support local hunger fighting efforts.

The Crop Project was organized in 1947 when farmers were asked to donate food and seed crops to hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia, a program that soon became known as the Christian Rural Overseas Program – CROP. In 1969 in Bismarck, North Dakota, and in 1970 in York, Pennsylvania, the first walk events were organized to raise funds to support CROP. Since then, CROP Hunger Walk events have been held in hundreds of communities large and small raising millions of dollars to eradicate hunger and poverty.

The 2020 Virtual CROP Walk proved to be very successful, raising almost $31,000 to fight hunger both globally and locally. Twenty-five percent of that total stayed in the community and went directly to eight local food pantries: Fishes and Loaves, Corner Food Pantry, Sharon Food Closet, NECC Food Pantry, St. Thomas’ Food Pantry, Kent Food Bank, FISH in Torrington, and Sheffield Food Assistance Program. This year, organizers say their goal is to raise $38,000.

Organizers say there is still ample time to participate and virtual participants may walk any time throughout the month of September. Folks are encouraged to join an existing team or start one of their own. If there are folks who cannot walk, but still would like to participate, organizers ask that they may consider donating to a team or person who is walking and are encouraging individuals and small groups to walk their neighborhoods and for students at schools to walk around their respective campuses.

For registration information, please visit crophungerwalk.org/fallsvillagect, or contact Pastor John A. Nelson of the Congregational Church of Salisbury, UCC, by emailing jnelson@salisburyucc.org.