Virtual CROP Walk breaks all records

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By Tom Holmes

There's nothing virtual about the record-breaking $85,000 raised this month by the annual CROP Walk – converted this year by COVID-19 into a virtual event and online fundraiser.

Joanne Despotes, chair of the Hunger Walkathon West, announced Sunday that the CROP Walk expects to take in $85,000 after all the checks have been counted and numbers tabulated.

 "We will have a record income in 2020," she said, "due to the generosity of so many supporters and the hard work of the planning team, the team captains and participants. It's amazing and heartening that people have embraced the needs of their neighbors during this frightening time."

Instead of 300 participants gathering at Pilgrim Church on May 3 for a rally and big send off, each participant was on their own walking in back yards or parking lots or even cemeteries. The amount given is surprising and gratifying, because most of the money raised in the past was done in churches by face to face meetings. This year, of course, almost all of it was done online.

Despotes said 25 percent of that $85,000 will be distributed to local food pantries and agencies. The rest is distributed through the Church World Service to fund empowerment projects such as well-digging and latrine construction in the U.S, and across the world. Ted Despotes, the HWW treasurer summed up the reaction to the good news by the members of the planning team by saying, "God has smiled on our efforts this year as in the past. This will feed a lot of hungry people."

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