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Annual walk raises funds to fight poverty

Liz Harter | Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Only five members of the Saint Mary’s social work club participated in the annual Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty (CROP) walk Sunday at Howard Park. But despite the low attendance this year, the students that participated in the event said they were happy to have been there.

The walk, sponsored by the Christian World Service, was one of hundreds that will occur across the country throughout October to raise money for local hunger-fighting agencies and international poverty relief organizations.

“[The walk] is a wonderful example of the South Bend community’s dedication to the awareness of social justice issues and commitment to the elimination of social injustices,” social work club president Connie Adams said.

The walk not only benefits international agencies combating hunger and poverty, but also the local South Bend community.

“Twenty-five percent of the money collected [by the CROP walk] stays in our community,” said Carrie Call, the director of the Office for Civic and Social Events (OCSE).

Money raised at this year’s event will benefit the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry, Hope Rescue Mission and La Casa de Amistad, among other local food pantries.

Saint Mary’s has been sending students to the CROP walk for the last eight years, including 15 students in 2006, Call said.

The goal for this year, she said, was to send at least 20 students, but schedule conflicts made that figure unattainable. Call said the other benefit walk scheduled for this week – Thursday’s Light the Night walk, will take place on Saint Mary’s campus. The event will raise money for the Luekemia and Lymphoma Society.

Moreover, the College is also sending the “Belles Brigade” to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in downtown South Bend Saturday.

The option to attend the other walks might have contributed to this year’s low attendance at the CROP walk, Call said.

“The number of students from Saint Mary’s walking this year is low compared to previous years,” Call said. “[Those other two walks are] pulling in many of the volunteers who might have done the CROP walk.”

Other groups, however, were able to send larger delegations. St. Joseph’s High School’s Helping Other People Endure (H.O.P.E.) charity organization sent a group of almost 100 students to the CROP walk, according to the South Bend Tribune.

To boost Saint Mary’s participation in the event, the OCSE was hoping to increase the College’s CROP donation to $400, up from last year’s $350 contribution. Final figures weren’t available, since donations for the event can still be made, said Jayne Fogle, director of the Educational Learning-Tree and CROP walk campus liaison.

“[The CROP walk’s goal] this year is to earn $5,000 over last year’s total in order to receive a $5,000 matching grant,” Fogle said.

The walk raised more than $32,000 last year, according to the Tribune.