Hikers add up miles for the hungry CROP walks aid poorer countries


Recent strides in Carroll County will help feed the hungry around the world.

PTC More than 300 people walked several miles along county paths on two Sundays to help farmers in underdeveloped countries produce more food.

In North and South Carroll, participants joined the annual Christian Rural Outreach Projects (CROP) Walks to fulfill pledges of several thousand dollars.

"We walked like people around the world who must walk every day for water and firewood," said the Rev. John Morrill of Messiah Lutheran Church in Sykesville.

Proceeds from the walks benefit CROP, a nonprofit organization that buys farm equipment and seed for Third World countries.

"They don't just send money; they send seeds and tools to help farmers," said Carol Deal. She helped organize the walk in South Carroll, where 182 walkers trekked 6.2 miles each to raise $5,794. Aid to Assist Lutherans will contribute $600 more to the cause.

Mr. Morrill called the walk the "best we have had in four years.

"We had a super turnout, with more than double the walkers and pledge money from last year," he said.

South Carroll's challenge to walkers in North Carroll may have inspired more people to put on their walking shoes, he said. North Carroll organizers have not tallied all pledges from 150 walkers, but said they expect to top last year's $6,000 mark. Walkers in Hampstead and Manchester go an extra mile or two.

"Even though they walked eight miles to our six, we may have them beat" on the total, Mr. Morrill said.

The official "winner" will not emerge until Nov. 21, the cutoff date for sending in pledge money.

Local ministries will receive about 25 percent of the money to help the needy in Carroll County. CROP will use the remainder to fund its projects in underdeveloped countries, Ms. Deal said.

Mr. Morrill said he is pleased with the number of students who participated. CROP videos of efforts to increase food production in needy areas may have induced the youths to join the effort, he said.

About 70 percent of the walkers in South Carroll were students at Liberty and South Carroll high schools and Sykesville Middle School, Ms. Deal said.

"We wanted to get younger people involved," Mr. Morrill said. "They enjoyed the walk and knew the reason for it."

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