Frequently Asked Questions about CROP Hunger Walks

CROP Hunger Walk
Neighbors walking in CROP Hunger Walks help meet human needs and nurture self-reliance with neighbors near and far.
Photo: David Bower/CWS

What does CROP stand for?

When CROP began in 1947 (under the wing of Church World Service, which was founded in 1946), CROP was an acronym for the Christian Rural Overseas Program.  Its primary mission was to help Midwest farm families to share their grain with hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia.  Today, rather than thinking of CROP primarily as an acronym, we retain it as the historic name of the program. CROP Hunger Walks are interfaith hunger education and fundraising events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by CWS/CROP regional offices across the U.S.

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When was the first CROP Hunger Walk?

On October 17, 1969, a thousand people in Bismarck, ND, walked in what may have been the first-ever CROP Hunger Walk--and raised $25,000 to help stop hunger. Several other CROP Hunger Walks occurred soon thereafter, and before long there were hundreds of CROP Hunger Walks each year in communities nationwide.  With its inception in 1969, CROP Hunger Walks are "viewed by many as the granddaddy of charity walks," notes the Los Angeles Times (Oct. 26, 2009).

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How many CROP Hunger Walks are there?

Each year, well over 2,000 communities across the U.S. join in more than 1,600 CROP Hunger Walks. More than five million CROP Hunger Walkers have participated in more than 36,000 CROP Hunger Walks in the last two decades alone.

Where do CROP Hunger Walk funds go?

CROP Hunger Walks help to support the overall ministry of Church World Service, especially grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts around the world. In addition, each local CROP Hunger Walk can choose to return up to 25 percent of the funds it raises to hunger-fighting programs in its own community.

CROP Hunger Walks help to provide food and water, as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs. From seeds and tools, to wells and water systems, to technical training and micro-enterprise loans, the key is people working together to identify their own development priorities, their strengths and their needs--something CWS has learned through some 64 years of working in partnership around the world.

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How do CROP Hunger Walks help out here at home?

This year CROP Hunger Walks will share almost $4 million with food banks, pantries, community gardens, and other local efforts across the U.S. This support is made possible when local CROP Hunger Walks choose our unique option of returning up to 25 percent of what their CROP Hunger Walk raises to hunger-fighting programs in their own community.

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What else makes CROP Hunger Walks special?

Because CROP Hunger Walks are ecumenical, interfaith, multi-cultural events, individual donors have the option of designating their gifts to other approved international hunger-fighting agencies. This option is unique to CROP events, and available for individual sponsors only.  Gifts not so designated go to support the worldwide ministry of Church World Service.

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How do I go about starting a CROP Hunger Walk in my community?

Call your CWS/CROP Regional Office, toll-free 888-CWS-CROP (that's 888-297-2767), to find out about the CROP Hunger Walk nearest you. If there isn't a CROP Hunger Walk in your area, your CWS/CROP Regional Office has all the expertise and free promotional materials to help you take the first steps to a successful, fulfilling CROP Walk.

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What is Church World Service?

Church World Service is a cooperative ministry of 37 Christian communions working with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world.

Within the U.S., Church World Service assists communities in responding to disasters, resettles refugees, promotes fair national and international policies, provides educational resources, and offers opportunities to join a people-to-people network of local and global caring through participation in CROP Hunger Walks, the Blankets+ Program, and the CWS Kit Program.

Whether in CROP Hunger Walks, through congregational giving, individual giving, grants, wills, or charitable gift annuities--people and groups who support the work of Church World Service give in a spirit of oneness with neighbors near and far.

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Are corporations and businesses involved in CROP Hunger Walks?

Nationally, upwards of 200 corporations match employee gifts and/or volunteer hours to the CROP Hunger Walk. Locally, thousands of businesses and media outlets support their community's CROP Hunger Walk, providing T-shirts and other supplies, turning out teams of Walkers--and in many other ways too numerous to list.

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How much of each dollar contributed goes toward overhead?

Over the last five years, on average just over 16.1% of the funds contributed to Church World Service has gone to management, fund raising and information sharing.

Besides the CROP Hunger Walk, does Church World Service have other opportunities for mission outreach?

Yes. The Blankets+ Program offers congregations and groups a way to share "tools" both large and small with children and families in need, including blankets, bedding, tents and other shelter items when an emergency or natural disaster occurs. Congregations and groups also get involved through the CWS Kit Program which provides recovery kits -- such as Hygiene Kits, School Kits, Baby Care Kits, and Emergency Clean-up Buckets -- that make a world of difference in emergency situations or areas of ongoing great need. Information on any or all of these outreach opportunities can be yours by calling toll-free 888-CWS-CROP (that's 888-297-2767).

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CROP Hunger Walk demographics