Anchorage interfaith group brings back hunger walk
"The community missed the event last year. We were sure of it."
Penny Goodstein, president of the Anchorage Interfaith Council, is referring to the CROP Walk, a hunger walk with a long history in Anchorage and across the United States.
"I think there had been 20 walks in Anchorage, with the last one here in 2013. When the possibility of resurrecting the Walk this fall was brought up at a council meeting a few months ago, the members were genuinely excited."
This year's Walk will be held on Sunday, September 27. It's a community-wide event, fit for people of all ages and walking abilities - solo, in groups, with family.
"It's non-competitive, about two-and-a-half miles. It can be something of a stroll, fun for any age," Penny comments.
"The funds raised by the walkers go to fight hunger, locally and globally. A terrific planning committee has been meeting through the summer. People literally jumped in to help with the various aspects of the Walk. The only problem we had initially was in finding someone to chair the event."
That "someone" eventually grew to be three people – a trio chairing the event. They are Kristi Johnson from Church Women United; Paul Boling, senior minister at First Christian Church; and Paul's brother, Dave Boling, associate minister at First Christian.
"They are doing an absolutely wonderful job getting things organized. We're putting a lot of emphasis on making the event festive and fun with youth groups involved. We already have Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops helping out. Bagpipers will start the Walk off, as they have done traditionally, and there are plans for a band – teenagers – to play at the end-of-walk celebration."
Walkers will gather at First Congregational Church, 2610 East Northern Lights Blvd., that Sunday, Sept. 27, with registration beginning at 12:45 p.m., and the actual Walk starting at 1:30.
"The route will take them down Lake Otis, east on Providence Drive, will wander through the UAA campus and around Goose Lake to Northern Lights, and back to First Congregational Church. It's a really pretty walk," Penny adds.
In Anchorage, a portion of the funds raised will go to FISH, St. Francis Food Pantry and the Downtown Soup Kitchen. Walkers are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the Walk start, with those donated items going to Lutheran Social Services Food Pantry.
"They've specifically requested three food items – Spam, Top Ramen, and chili," Penny adds. "Those must be the most frequently requested things by their clients."
"Yes, the CROP Walk is back, bolstered by lots of enthusiasm," Penny delights in claiming. "We hope lots of people will register."
Registration is available on the website, Anchorage CROP Hunger Walk, or by calling First Christian Church at 272-0615 for registration packets.