NORMAN – The Cleveland County CROP Hunger Walk will host its 36th annual charity walk to stop hunger with both virtual and in-person options to participate on Sunday, Oct. 18. In-person walkers, who are asked to social distance and wear masks, will gather at assigned times between 1:30 and 4 p.m. at Andrews Park, 201 W. Daws.
CROP – Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty – is a charity walk that raises money and awareness to fight hunger locally and globally. Proceeds support the international development, refugee assistance and disaster relief efforts of Church World Service and the local hunger-fighting work of Food and Shelter Inc. in Norman.
“As vulnerable people in our community and around the world face even greater challenges this year because of COVID-19, we are inviting citizens of Cleveland County to help us raise $20,000 or more to respond,” said CROP Walk Co-Chair Brenda Wheelock. “Our theme this year is inspired by a quote from the author Helen Keller: ‘Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.’ We are calling on a spirit of unity in our community to come together and help our neighbors in need.”
With safety in mind, people can support the walk one of three ways. They can be a “Spirit Walker,” supporting the charity virtually through their prayers and online gifts. They can be an “Independent Walker,” walking alone or with family on their own chosen path, such as their neighborhood. Participants can also walk together with teams or individually on two-mile route that begins and ends at Andrews Park on Sunday, Oct. 18.
All participants are encouraged to pre-register and donate online at www.clevelandcountycropwalk.org. Assigned team start times are listed on the website. Individual walkers may choose from any of the start times between 1:30 and 4 p.m. to participate. Start times are staggered this year to keep groups small and avoid crowding. Participants are welcome to bring friendly, leashed pets to the walk. Goodrich United Methodist Church will be hosting a water and rest station along the route. Local disk jockey Adrian Buendia of Nexus Productions will provide music for the event.
The CROP Walk is also hosting its annual sidewalk chalk art contest for kids and teens virtually this year, with entries due online at www.clevelandcountycropwalk.org by Saturday, Oct. 17. Prizes will be awarded by age group. In addition, youth are invited to participate in the CROP Walk Video Education project co-sponsored by LoveWorks of Norman. Students are invited to make videos about hunger and the work of Church World Service or Food and Shelter Inc. The top three entries with the most likes in social media will receive prizes. More details are available on the Cleveland County CROP Walk website.
All CROP walkers who raise $100 or more will receive a free T-shirt featuring this year’s theme, “Alone we can do so little. Together we do so much.” Shirts will also be available for purchase at Andrews Park for $15 each. After the walk, shirts will also be available at Lanoy Tag Agency, 1315 24th Ave. S.W. Donations, payable to CROP Walk, can also be dropped off at the tag agency.
“We chose this year’s CROP Walk theme because standing together is more important than ever before,” said April Heiple, CROP Walk committee member and executive director of Food and Shelter, which has seen a 500 percent increase in requests for food during the pandemic. “COVID has taught us that if we don’t stand together and take care of each other, our community will fall apart. CROP Walk helps us make sure people don’t fall through the cracks.”
In the past 35 years, the local CROP Walk has raised more than $380,000 to fight hunger and poverty. Last year, the local walk was recognized as one of the nation’s top 100 “Cream of the CROP” fundraising walks.
Cleveland County CROP Walk sponsors are Ad Specialties & More, Armstrong Bank, Campus Camera Club of OU, Community of Christ Church, Dental Design Studio, First Baptist Church, First Christian Church, First Congregational Church of Norman-UCC, First Presbyterian Church, First United Bank, Goodrich Memorial United Methodist Church, Grace Fellowship, Graphic Designer Jessica Lauer, LaNoy Tag Agency, McFarlin United Methodist Church, Memorial Presbyterian Church, Morning Star Center for Spiritual Living, Mr. Roberts Furniture, New Hope Christian Church, Nexus Productions, Norman Parks and Recreation, Norman Transcript, NorthHaven Church, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Sandalwood & Sage, Second Wind Coffeehouse, STASH, St. John’s Episcopal Church, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, St. Thomas More University Parish, Therapy in Motion, University Lutheran Church, Preston Trimble, West Wind Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Yellow Dog Coffee Company.
To learn more about the CROP Walk, call (405) 620-1305 or visit the walk website at www.clevelandcountycropwalk.org.