By Sue Moore
For 10 years, Brad Addis and his wife, Barbara, have organized and contributed to the Crop Hunger Walk in Vicksburg. Finally, he insisted on retirement from the volunteer job. But Addis wondered who would come forward to accept the reins and keep this fundraiser going for those who are hungry the world over.
That’s when a community has a chance to show its commitment to helping others, said Danna Downing, executive director of the South County Community Services (SCCS). Her agency has benefitted by $20,000 from walk donations over the last 20 years. Members of several churches from Climax-Scotts, Portage, Vicksburg and Schoolcraft are now in charge, with a goal of gathering pledges in the neighborhood of $10,000 for the April 30 Crop Walk.
This group of dedicated ladies have been involved with the Crop Walk by raising pledges from members of their churches but had never taken on the leadership role. “It’s a team of people that care about those who are less fortunate who do not have adequate nutrition in their everyday lives,” Downing said. A fourth of the donations are funneled to local agencies. Three fourths goes to help feed the hungry worldwide. One little segment of the population in south county cannot possibly raise the millions that are needed. The motto of the church-affiliated Crop Hunger Walk is Ending Hunger One Step at a Time; a worldwide effort is needed.
The local church members will gather at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church at 1 p.m. for registration and step off down N. Main Street promptly at 2 p.m. They will go three miles in a leisurely walk along the village of Vicksburg’s trail. There are options for those who don’t want to walk, Downing explained. Participants can bring their own rocking chair and rock in the parking lot or just pray for the hungry at any time.
The local team:
Meg Finerty, a volunteer from Lord of Life church on Portage Road has been volunteering at her church as part of her DNA, she said. She has lived in seven different states and each time has made volunteering a big part of her life. She works at Kellogg in Battle Creek.
Lori Roof, and Kay Cousins, representing Climax and Scotts United Methodist churches, take part in the Crop Walk because they like to help people and will volunteer whenever there is a need. Cousins is chair of the church’s missions outreach which helps to send food kits all over the world. “I want to help my brothers and sisters,” she said.
Jackie Skinner, Schoolcraft United Methodist Church, is no stranger to volunteering in this community as it seems that has been her life’s work. She easily cites the words from St. Peter in the Bible “The gifts that you are given are to be shared.”
The entire effort for the Crop Walk is sponsored by Church World Services. The feeling from local church members is that while the Crop Walk could combine with that in Kalamazoo, it should stay local with many more people able to participate, Downing said.
CROP originally was an acronym for Christian Rural Overseas Program, aimed at helping Midwest farm families to share their grain with hungry people in Europe and Asia. The name now is applied to the fundraising walks.