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ISSUE 119 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 9/30/2005

Walk raises awareness

By Jean Mullins
Executive Editor

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Crop Walk, the annual fundraiser for the Church World Service, an ecumenical organization representing 35 different Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox organizations, took place in Northfield Sunday. A few hundred people participated in the event, which is designed to raise money and awareness about world hunger.

The few hundred walkers from Northfield not only did the walk but also listened to speeches, including one given by the mayor of Northfield, Lee Lansing. There were also activities, such as goat feeding, to encourage the participants to think about world hunger.

"The walk itself is supposed to be an action of solidarity with all the people you are raising money for," Erin Bengtson '06, one of the organizers at St. Olaf for the Crop Walk, said.

Hannah Wallisch '07, the organizer for the crop walk last year, echoed Bengtson. "The money was good, but the awareness is really what is important to me," she said.

Bengtson explained that, on average, St. Olaf students do not raise much money.

"Students generally aren't good fundraisers," she said.

But, the St. Olaf congregation donated its Sunday offering to the Crop Walk, substantially contributing to their overall funds raised.

Participants did not have to pledge money to walk. "Participation was our biggest goal," Bengtson said.

She said that participation was down to around 30 St. Olaf students from last year's showing, when over a hundred students from St. Olaf participated.

"A lot more people signed up than actually went," Bengtson said. "Next year, I hope that we can get better participation."

Most Northfield-area churches participate in the Crop Walk. Bengtson emphasized that the Crop Walk is an important event because it is a "social justice organization within the church."

Wallisch said she was pleased with the event this year.

"I think it went really well," she said. "It was a good event to get out and do something with the Northfield community."

The Crop Walk takes place in 2,000 towns in the United States on the same day. The money that the Church world Service raises then goes to fight hunger in 80 different countries around the world by bringing in tools to develop sustainable agriculture.

The Church World Service also contributes to disaster relief and refugee assistance. About 25 percent of the money raised by the Crop Walk goes to the community in which it was raised, while the rest goes to the worldwide goals of the Church World Service.

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