CROP hunger walk moves to Evanston

Edward Cox, Reporter

Evanston hosted for the first time Sunday a walk to raise awareness of world hunger.

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl kicked off the North Shore Christian Rural Overseas Program Hunger Walk  by welcoming the congregation at the Second Baptist Church, which included members from 24 church organizations in Evanston, Wilmette, Skokie, Winnetka and Kenilworth.

This year, the walk took place in Evanston, after being hosted in Wilmette since 1991. The planning committee decided to move the location because a majority of the agencies benefiting from the walk are based in Evanston.

“We hope that bringing the walk to Evanston will give it more exposure and publicity,” program coordinator Helen Yarbrough said. “Also, we thought the route through Evanston would be more lively.”

Participants, including students from Evanston Township High School, headed out into a light drizzle to walk a three-mile loop along Sheridan Road and through downtown Evanston.

“We walk in solidarity with those who must walk to get water and medicine,” Yarbrough said.

Sunday school children from St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Wilmette had drawn a poster of a face with pepperoni eyes and bacon strips for a smile. A CROP walk organizer passed out red stickers shaped like stop signs that read, “Help CROP stop hunger.”

One walker, Ethelyn Bond, said she has participated in at least five CROP walks.

“I did it in high school, and I loved it,” said Bond, who walked with the First United Methodist Church in Evanston. “I walk not only to raise money for global hunger but also to support local programs.”

One quarter of the proceeds from the CROP walk will fund five local agencies, including the Hospitality Center of Interfaith Action, Soup at Six at Hemenway, the ARK in Rogers Park, A Just Harvest and the Tuesday Soup Kitchen at Second Baptist Church.

The remainder of the funds help to provide food, water and other resources for needy people around the world.

The Tuesday Soup Kitchen, a new beneficiary of this year’s CROP walk, is jointly managed by the Second Baptist Church and Temple Beth Israel in Evanston.

“The soup kitchen has a very small budget, so any money (available for it) will go to it,” said Arlene Jackson, who has been working on the committee for eight years.

Jackson said she hopes the CROP walk, which raised $38,000 last year, will hit the $40,000 mark through donations this year. Although organizers have yet to total in-person donations to individual walkers and participating churches, online donations total $11,645 so far.