CROP Walk organizers set 2017 goal at $20,000

	Eastern Van Buren County CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walk organizers met for a Recruiters’ Rally on Monday at the Paw Paw Methodist Church.  The group has set a goal this year to top $20,000, and have at least 175 sponsored walkers participate in the 35th annual CROP Walk on April 20, beginning at 2 p.m. from the church. 	                                                                	
Courier-Leader photo/Paul Garrod

    PAW PAW - Eastern Van Buren  County CROP (Communities Responding to  Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walk organizers have set a goal this year to top $20,000, and have at least 175 sponsored walkers participate.
    The goal was announced at this year’s CROP Walk Re-cruiters’ Rally, held Monday night at the Paw Paw United Methodist Church.
    Last year’s event enrolled 150 participants for the 3.5 mile walk around Paw Paw. A total of $17,300 was raised from that event.
    According to Mary Lou Hartwell, event chairperson, a gift of $1,000 will be given to  this  year’s  Walk if the $20,000  goal is met.
    Money raised by CROP Hunger Walks nationwide is used by Church World Service (CWS) to provide food, medical care, disaster relief, and self-help development for needy people around the world. Locally, a quarter of all funds raised in the CROP Hunger Walk is distributed to local hunger-alleviating agencies in eastern Van Buren County.
    Area agencies who will receive those funds this year include:
    Community Service Center, Paw Paw, Eleanor’s Food Pan-try, Friends of Decatur Human Services, Gobles-Kendall Area Ministerial Association, Law-rence Community Food Pantry and Mattawan Area Pantry.
    The 35th Eastern Van Buren CROP Hunger Walk will be held Sunday, April 30, at the Paw Paw  United Methodist Church, Registration begins at 1 p.m., with the walk getting underway at 2 p.m.
    Walk participants may raise funds online at: www.crophungerwalk.org/pawpawmi.
    Upcoming event fundraisers include a benefit concert by Christian music artist Jean Watson.  The  concert will be held April 9, at 3 p.m. at New Hope Fellowship Church, Paw Paw.
    Also,Tapper Automotive has agreed to help fund CROP by donating $1 for every vehicle that goes through their Paw Paw car wash April 10 - 16.
    “The CROP Hunger Walk is a true passion for me. When I think of all the children that go to bed hungry and thirsty each night or do not even have a safe place to lay down, it breaks my heart,” said Hartwell.
    “Working with CROP through Church World Services, I know the funds we raise through our walk will help so many in need. Our money not only helps feed the hungry, but also provides educational opportunities in developing nations around the world.”
    Hartwell said, “CROP funds can help teach a village in South America how to create and maintain a garden to help them grow their own food, provide chickens or other livestock and instruction how to continue raising these animals for sustaining life.  What a gift for generations to come.  
    “Our funds also help here at home,“ Hartwell noted.  “Church World Services and their partners are there when hurricanes, tornadoes, or other tragic events happens to provide whatever is needed, food, water, shelter, communications, and hope.  Of the funds we collect here, 25 percent will be distributed directly to our six local food pantries.  Sadly,  there is a real need here at home, too.”
    For more  information, contact Hartwell at (269) 657-4894 or by e-mail at: mhart87080@aol.com. To make a donation on the website  visit: www.crophungerwalk.org/pawpawmi.
  

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