IOWA CITY — An organization created to help war-torn Europe after World War II now is working to aid food insecurity in Johnson County.
The CROP Hunger Walk, an international effort to curb hunger by Church World Service, is gearing up for an annual walk to benefit the food pantry at the Crisis Center of Johnson County. Last year, the event raised more than $7,000 to benefit the Crisis Center’s food bank.
“We’d love for more people to become involved and be aware,” said Barb Lange, head of the Johnson County CROP Hunger Walk Committee. “You’ve heard of the cancer walks and that kind of thing, but this thing, so often, people just are not aware of it.”
This year’s event is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 8, and is planned to be a 2.7-mile loop around the Crisis Center. Registration the day of the event will begin at 1 p.m. at 1105 Gilbert Ct., next door to the Crisis Center.
An open house to receive donation envelopes is scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at Iowa City churches Zion Lutheran Church and Christ the King. Lange said the open house is for mostly for the churches who recruit participants to get educational information.
“So we have a good 10 to 15 churches that recruit people regularly that walk with us and then those people ask for donations,” Lange said. “We’ve also approached some of the local businesses and they’ve been supportive of us.”
Johnson County residents could use help in reducing hunger, with more than 14 percent of the population being food-insecure, compared to 12.7 percent statewide, according to a 2016 Johnson County Hunger Task Force report.
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“I’m just a real supporter of food services, providing food for people who are in need,” said Lange, who has been involved with the walk for about 10 years now.
Lange said 25 percent of what the Johnson County CROP Hunger Walk collects this year will go directly to the Crisis Center food bank, with the rest going to Church World Service.
CROP Hunger Walks occur all over the country, with 906 walks held nationwide in 2017, according to a news release. Another CROP Hunger walk typically is held in Cedar Rapids.
“It’s not just a Band-Aid where we give people a box of cereal. The money is also used to help people get back on their feet,” Lange said, adding that the organization also purchases things like new shoes for a job or a bus pass for those in need.
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