The Christian Rural Overseas Program, or CROP, is an organization aimed at ending hunger, both locally and globally. The Greater Indianapolis CROP Hunger Walk will be taking place virtually beginning on Oct. 4 and continuing throughout the month.
The CROP group located in Indianapolis will be focusing on raising funds and forming teams online. According to CROP Event Coordinator Rev. Brooks Barrick, those who wish to participate can sign up to donate or join a group through the CROP website.
While the walk will not be taking place as one organized gathering, many churches in the area have been hosting their own walks or fundraising virtually in order to contribute, according to Barrick.
Despite limitations to nonprofits and organized events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barrick said he is hoping to see more participation and donations.
“As we were having conversations with the nursing students this morning, there are people unemployed right now because of COVID-19 [and] are not able to contribute like they did in the past,” Barrick said. “So we don’t know what that’s going to look like. I was really surprised with Rosedale Hill United Methodist Church when I went down on Saturday. They had 26 walkers from their church. That’s actually the most walkers they’ve ever had walk the CROP walk. So we’ll have to see … “
According to University of Indianapolis senior nursing major and CROP intern Samantha Enloe, the virtual aspect of this year’s walk has also created challenges with promoting the event. Enloe and the group of interns from UIndy found different ways to advertise the walk, including creating posters and Facebook posts that link directly to the CROP website.
“Our group has come up with little different things here and there to help bring awareness to the walk,” Enloe said. “We’ve created posters that have QR codes on them and we’ve been giving those out to get the word out that the walk is still happening.”
Enloe and the UIndy interns will also be hosting their own CROP walk at UIndy on Oct. 18. The event will give students the opportunity to participate, as well as donate non-perishables.
“That’s where we also thought of, it’s not super realistic to ask college students to donate money, but that’s where we thought the food drive might come in. So if they come to walk, they can bring non-perishables to that,” Enloe said.
While CROP walks are community events that strive to end hunger locally as well as globally, community organizers decide where donations will go locally, according to Barrick. This year, Barrick said, funds from the Greater Indianapolis CROP Hunger Walk will go to Second Helpings, a food recovery agency that supplies meals to Indianapolis and outlying counties.
According to Barrick, the CROP Hunger Walks in Indianapolis initially began to combat hunger in the area that is caused not only by poverty but also by food deserts, urban areas where there is minimal access to affordable and quality food. The walk is meant to act as a form of solidarity with those who have to walk long distances for their food.
” … Even in food deserts in Indianapolis, a lot of people in those food deserts do not have automobiles, and there are not grocery stores close to them, so then to get to a food pantry, or to some kind of a shop, they have to walk sometimes a long, really long haul,” Barrick said. “So our go-to is ‘Let’s end hunger, one step at a time, in our own lifetime.'”