Churches from around the Walnut Cove community are joining forces this weekend to raise money for missions — both at home and abroad. The annual CROP Hunger Walk is slated for Sunday, Oct. 21 at 2:30 p.m., beginning at First Baptist Church on Summit Street in Walnut Cove.
“I want to emphasize the importance of reaching out in this great mission where people can touch people all over the world,” says the Rev. Gregory Hairston of Rising Star Baptist Church in Walnut Cove, one of the organizers of the event.
Of the money collected through pledges to walkers and other contributions, 25 percent will stay in Stokes County — going to East Stokes Outreach Ministry in Walnut Cove to help the less fortunate. The rest will be distributed to worldwide missions through Church World Service.
The local walk is sponsored by the Walnut Cove Ministerial Association and has taken place in the town for the past several years, with varying levels of participation. Rev. Hairston, who has walked for the past two years, notes that last year’s event was the biggest thus far, with about 60 participants.
“We’re hoping to get a bunch of churches involved,” he explains. “In the past, it has been maybe eight or nine churches, but we want at least 25 … Even if each church just had one walker who could get 10 people to give $10, that’s $100.”
And it’s not just churches that can take part. Civic organizations are also invited to join in the efforts to end hunger throughout the world.
Participants are asked to arrive at the church by 2 p.m. so that all pledge sheets can be turned in ahead of time. Rev. Hairston estimates that the actual walk will begin by 2:30. He hopes to have banners for the walkers to carry on the route, which goes from First Baptist down to Second Street, down to Main Street, up Main to the Walnut Cove Fire Department, through the London community down to London School and back to First Baptist.
Rev. Hairston is trusting that more churches and civic organizations will get involved before Sunday’s walk. “I just feel that people are not responding,” he shares his concern. “The big picture is that we’re all supposed to be working together … The Word says that together we stand, divided we fall.”
Rev. Hairston believes that if even 15-20 churches worked together, they could do great things in this area. About 2,000 communities across the U.S. typically take part in such walks annually. Worldwide, in the last 20 years, CROP Hunger Walks have raised more than $294 million as they pursue the goal of their motto: “Ending Hunger One Step at a Time.”
Back in 1969, the original idea of walking to raise money was based on the notion that hungry people in developing countries usually walk as many as six miles daily to take their goods to market and to keep their food, water and fuel well-supplied. CROP walkers walk to show solidarity with those who struggle to exist in other portions of the world.
Any amount of money donated makes a difference. For example, $25 can provide a farm family with the training, hives and equipment they need to make nutritious honey. Fifty dollars can provide a local church-run food pantry with 400 lbs. of food. Add another $50 and you can provide a family with 250 baby chicks that will one day be egg-producers.
Even if a person cannot take part in the actual walk on Sunday, he or she can still play a vital role in the effort. Donations can be given to walkers or can be contributed at www.cropwalkonline.org. At that site, just type “27052” into the “Find Your Walk” box, and Stokes County CROP Hunger Walk 2012 will come up with a place to make donations. Pledge sheets and promotional materials are also available there.
For more information, contact Rev. Hairston at 336-591-5662 or 336-407-9446 or the Rev. Pete Harris of First Christian Church in Walnut Cove at 336-591-7576.