The number of SUNY Cortland students who participate in the CROP Hunger Walk has grown in recent years, but so has the need in light of the recent Hurricane Matthew, making this year’s event on Sunday, Oct. 23, important for global and local hunger relief.
This year’s event begins with registration at 1 p.m. and the walk starting at 1:30 p.m. at United Presbyterian Church, 25 Church St. in Cortland, rain or shine. A local band, Rock and Blues Ensemble, will provide music during the registration period. Walkers may choose a one- or three-mile route, having solicited pledges of financial support from friends, family and classmates. It takes place rain or shine. There will be a table at the Water Works which will provide bottles of water and apples to walkers.
Theta Chi will staff sign-up tables in the Student Life Center daily through Friday, Oct. 21. Sponsor forms, posters and informational pieces are available from Jim Miller a lecturer in the College’s History Department and a lead organizer of local CROP Hunger Walk efforts. Community groups in need of materials and information are invited to email Susan Wilson, associate professor in the Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies Department.
The Cortland Area CROP Hunger Walk is part of a larger national initiative that seeks to increase knowledge of hunger causes and to raise funds to feed those in need. The sponsoring agency, Church World Service, is working in Haiti, Cuba and throughout the east coast states assessing needs and providing tents, water, building materials and other immediate shortages from Hurricane Matthew.
The SUNY Cortland community is always a major supporter of this event. In 2015, 89 percent of the walkers in the Cortland fundraiser were students and they raised more than 65 percent of the more than $13,000 raised locally.
Several SUNY Cortland student groups, Greek organizations and sport teams played key roles in last year’s efforts. The College’s softball team raised $1,435 and earned the Gold Cleat Award as the top fundraising sports team. Theta Chi fraternity raised $1,100, the highest total among Greek organizations.
Twenty-five percent of the funds raised in the county are returned to support local food pantries and feeding programs. Funds raised this year will be given to the City of Cortland to feed those in need and assist organizations such as Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and Loaves and Fishes. The Cortland CROP Hunger Walk is one of about 200 CROP Hunger Walks taking place in New York state communities and one of a few thousand nationwide. Donations will be accepted at the event or in advance through the local CROP Hunger Walk’s website, which offers online event registration.
CROP Hunger Walks, the first such event for fundraising purposes, have been around for 50 years, according to the CROP Hunger Walk website. These walkathons raise around $20 million annually for global and local hunger.