Newsfeature: Step by step, around the world

Dominican Republic's is first-ever bi-national CROP Hunger Walk

Dominican Republic’s is first-ever bi-national CROP Hunger Walk

CROP Hunger Walkers in Middlebury, Vermont
CROP Hunger Walkers in Middlebury, Vermont
Photo: Bill Eichner

Author Julia Alvarez said she was delighted to be the honorary chair for the October 4 CROP Hunger Walk in her community of Middlebury, Vt.

“We are walking today, participating in creating a different kind of world, a world where we feed each other,” Alvarez told Middlebury walkers. “We save ourselves by saving each one another.”

Yet the author of In the Time of the Butterflies, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Saving the World, and other best-selling titles didn’t stop at leading walkers in Addison County, Vermont.  Alvarez helped launch the first CROP Hunger Walk in her native Dominican Republic.

At the same time Addison County rallied to defeat hunger in its CROP Hunger Walk, more than 50 people around the community of Los Marranitos, Dominican Republic, left behind their bikes, scooters and cars to make an active demonstration in the effort to defeat hunger.

“I have participated in many CROP walks with my church and community growing up, but this was by far the most powerful and unforgettable,” said Erin McKinney, a Global Ministries Missionary with the Disciples of Christ/United Church of Christ, assigned to CWS partner Caminante, in the Dominican Republic.  “In the country town where the walk took place most people do not have a vehicle and if they need to go to town, to the market, visit a doctor they must walk miles to get to town. The symbolism of walking together in the first international CROP Hunger Walk was inspirational and powerful and a great experience of solidarity.”

CROP Hunger Walkers in Los Marranitos, Dominican Republic
CROP Hunger Walkers in Los Marranitos, Dominican Republic.
Photo: Ria Shroff
Alvarez and her husband, Bill Eichner, own a fair-trade coffee farm that practices and teaches environmental and agricultural sustainability.  Two Middlebury College graduates who are volunteering at Alvarez’ farm, Ria Shroff and Eli Berman, helped organize and bolster support for the Dominican walk.

“The event was in many ways an ideal model of what CROP Hunger Walks are about:  people working together in partnership to bring hope and opportunity to those who struggle to overcome hunger and poverty, and in the process to reveal our common humanity to each other,” said CWS New England Regional Director Rev. Bert Marshall. 

According to Ria Shroff, Walk Coordinator, "At the outset of the Dominican Republic CROP Hunger Walk, some people in the local communities were wondering why anyone would want to walk when you can ride your bike.  At the end of the Walk, they understood why.” 

Now in their 40th year, Church World Service’s CROP Hunger Walks raise some $16 million annually across the U.S. Money raised from the events help to fund hunger-fighting programs in each CROP Hunger Walk community and through Church World Service around the globe.  

Call your CWS/CROP Regional Office, toll-free at 888-297-2767 or visit to find the CROP Hunger Walk nearest you or to learn how to organize one.



All active news articles