Oct. 22 CROP Walk Takes Steps to Fight Hunger, Poverty

October 12, 2017
CONTACT: Brenda Wheelock, Publicity Chair
brendawheelock@cox.net, (405) 620-1305

NORMAN – The Cleveland County CROP Walk to Stop Hunger will host its annual charity walk on Sunday, Oct. 22, with a new route and new theme celebrating the completion of Food and Shelter Inc.’s new campus and its addition of McKown Village, 32 cottages which house individuals and families in need.

“It Takes a Village” is the theme of the 34th annual CROP Walk, which will begin and end at Andrews Park, 201 W. Daws. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. with Chalk the Walk for Hunger, a sidewalk chalk art contest for kids. Walk registration will begin at 1:30 p.m. with the send-off scheduled for 2 p.m. The new three-mile route will include a rest-station at Food & Shelter’s new location at 201 Reed Ave.

CROP, which stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty, is a nationwide, ecumenical effort to raise awareness and raise funds to fight hunger and poverty. The walk is one of more than 1,100 such events taking place across the country this year and is organized by volunteers from local faith groups and community organizations. Norman’s first CROP Walk was held Oct. 6, 1984. The Cleveland County CROP Walk was recently recognized as one of the “Cream of the CROP” top 100 fundraising walks in the country.

“Hunger is very real in our community,” said April Heiple, chair of the 2017 CROP Walk and executive director of Food & Shelter. “Local news has been saturated with stories about the great number of Norman school children relying on the free and reduced lunch program for their daily nutrition. Without adequate food in their pantries, their families rely on our community to ensure their children do not go to bed hungry.”

CROP Walk teams include churches, student groups, businesses, community organizations, families and friends. Individuals are also welcome to join and register on the day of the walk. Walkers are asked to turn in their donation envelopes at the registration tent. Individuals can also register and donate online at www.crophungerwalk.org/normanok.

“The CROP Walk is a fun-filled, family-orientated event,” Heiple said. Before the walk, participants can enjoy face painting for kids, musical entertainment by Norman Public School’s Manyawi World Music Ensemble and the children’s sidewalk chalk art contest,

The 1 p.m. “Chalk the Walk for Hunger” will be hosted by members of Norman Public Schools’ FCCLA – Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. “Helping the Hungry, Making a Difference” is the theme of the art contest, which is open to kids up to 18. Group and individual entries are welcome. A suggested donation of high protein foods, such as peanut butter or canned tuna, will be donated to Food and Shelter. Chalk will be provided, and prizes donated by Kidoodles Toy Zone and Sooner Bowling Center will be awarded by age category.

At 2 p.m., members of local school and church choirs will lead off the walk by singing the African marching song “Siyahamba.” The after-walk celebration will include a hot dog cookout provided by First United Bank, freee snowcones and dance music by Nexus Productions of Norman. Water stations staffed by local Girl Scouts along the route will offer water and restrooms, as well as water bowls and treats for leashed dogs.

Norman Mayor Lynne Miller is providing rocking chairs for “CROP Rock,” an opportunity for those who can’t physically participate in the three-mile walk, but want to contribute and join the festivities. CROP Walk T-shirts will be available for $15 each on walk day and will be awarded free to each walker who raises $100 or more in walk donations.

Twenty-five percent of CROP Walk proceeds will be donated to Norman’s Food and Shelter Inc., which provides housing for homeless families and individuals, warm meals, and other vital services to those in need. The remaining CROP Walk proceeds go to support hunger relief and development projects of Church World Service in more than 30 countries. Although not affiliated with a particular church, the non-profit agency’s efforts are supported by a coalition of over 35 denominations and faith groups. Church World Service programs in the developing world focus on self help, economic and environmental sustainability, strengthening local communities, and building self-reliance.

"In the past 30-plus years, our local CROP Walk has raised nearly than $300,000 to benefit people in need, both here and around the globe," Heiple said, noting that local CROP Walk organizers hope to raise $22,000 this year. “When you support the CROP Walk, you are taking steps to alleviate hunger and poverty in the world's neediest communities and right here in our own backyard.”

This year’s CROP Walk sponsors are Action Sign and Design, Ad Specialties & More, ARVEST Bank, Community of Christ Church, Dental Design Studio, DJ Roadracing, FCCLA of Norman, First Baptist Church, First Christian Church, First Congregational Church of Norman-UCC, First Presbyterian Church, First United Bank, Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma, Grace Fellowship, Greg Heiple, Kidoodles Toy Zone, LaNoy Tag Agency, Legend’s Restaurant, Manyawi World Music Ensemble, McFarlin United Methodist Church, Morning Star Center for Spiritual Living, New Hope Christian Church, Nexus Productions Inc., Norman Transcript, NorthHaven Church, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Republic Bank & Trust, Sandalwood & Sage, Second Wind Coffeehouse, Sooner Bowling Center, St. John's Episcopal Church, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine, Therapy in Motion, Trimble Law Office, University Lutheran Church, U.S. Foods, Weichert Realtors-Centennial and West Wind Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

To learn more about the CROP Walk, contact April Heiple at (405) 364-4954 or visit the walk website at www.clevelandcountycropwalk.org.