February 4, 2022
To my friends who like to feed hungry people,
We have so many new members who are not familiar with some of our long-standing social justice efforts and are probably wondering what this Austin CROP Hunger Walk is all about. Let me try to explain. The Austin CROP Hunger Walk is part of bigger effort around the country which includes over 1300 local walks to raise money for Church World Service (CWS) and selected local agencies which reflect the same values as CWS. United Christian Church was the sixth largest fundraiser for the Walk in Austin last year and the Austin Walk is always in the top 10 Walks around the country.
In pre-pandemic times, between 500-1000 people joined together at a selected site - recently Camp Mabry - to walk with folks from 5-7 different religious traditions in a community effort to relieve hunger. Many years ago, Church World Service began as a way to connect US farmers with surplus crops to hungry people around the world. Now, they have expanded into all sorts of arenas such as building schools and water wells, teaching people how to grow or raise food/animals, assisting refugees, helping during natural disasters, and much more. In the last few months, they have resettled 5000 Afghan refugees as an approved agency by the US government. Our Disciples Refugee organizations have assisted them in this goal. If you would like to learn more about Church World Service, go to https://cwsglobal.org/.
Twenty-five percent of the money raised at the WALK stays right here in Austin and will help our local partners with their missions. This year’s recipients are Central Texas Food Bank, Refugee Services of Texas, Sustainable Food Center, Manos de Cristo, Bread for All Food Pantry, Hope Food Pantry, and Mt. Olive Baptist Church Food Pantry. To see videos from some of our local recipients, go to the Austin CROP Hunger Walk YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT9HZYUiEvSaVWYXRhuQ1XA. If you would like to see a video about Manos de Cristo and how their dental clinic has adapted during Covid times, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM_LS4cpwdM.
We hope to have an in-person Walk at Camp Mabry this year on March 6th with protocols in place to make the Walk as safe as possible during these times. A decision about the in-person walk will be made in mid-February and will depend on the community Covid levels at that time. We are offering an open start to reduce crowding, so folks can come and start walking anytime between 1 -2:30 pm. While some things will have changed about the walk for safety, there will be a new route which goes through a beautifully wooded part of the property and there will be a scavenger hunt designed by First United Methodist Church, refreshments, and RESULTS letter writing. No matter whether we have the in-person walk or not, all are invited to participate in their own way by walking in their neighborhood park, dancing in your home, practicing your favorite sport, or working on the grounds of UCC like our youth group did last year. To join our team, go to https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2022/team/united-christian-church-of-austin. If you would like to go the traditional route with a donation of cash or check, make the check out to Church World Service and write Austin Walk/United Christian Church in the memo line and give it to Diane Baker or any of our team members. You can also donate through any of UCC’s methods and write “Austin CROP Walk” in the memo line. Thank you for your support.
Social Justice Team Lead