This CROP Hunger Walk has special meaning | Guest Column | Sept. 17

Back in the mid-1980s, the Bainbridge Review featured an article about a group of Winslow businessmen who walked for exercise during their morning coffee break. With most of the walkers, it was generally a health situation requiring a regular exercise regime.

My dad was one of the regulars, along with friends and fellow businessmen like Eddie Rollins and Fred Tyzsko. Dad had his first open-heart surgery when he was 52 years old – pretty close to my age now. His heart surgery was a wake-up call, and walking became a regular part of his day.

CROP Hunger Walk will be a special one for me this year.

We lost Dad this year, and much of the pavement covered by the regular annual CROP walkers layers the same roads covered by those intrepid businessmen nearly 30 years ago.

Dad was a CROP Walk fan – although his longer walking days were pretty much gone by the time the Bainbridge/North Kitsap CROP Hunger Walk had its inaugural trek back in the late 1990s.

Anyone who remembers Dad in his healthier years will remember that he rarely took anything at a slow saunter.

Whether he was taking customers down the aisles of Winslow Hardware or leading us boys and our fishing poles around the Sportsman Club pond in pursuit of some elusive lunkers, Dad’s pace seemed more like a slow jog.

While CROP Hunger Walk participants don’t set an Olympic pace, we are all walking with a purpose.

The event primarily benefits Church World Service – an amazing international organization that works with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world.

Along with making a difference around the globe and helping end hunger one step at a time, the BI/NK CROP Hunger Walk is instrumental in local assistance.

Twenty-five percent of the pledges earned from the local walk stay right in the community – 20 percent at Helpline House and 5 percent at Fishline of Poulsbo.

What’s even more impressive is how those local totals add up over the years. Since the inaugural Bainbridge walk in 1996, the BI/NK CROP Hunger Walk events have raised $488,000.

Last year alone, the walk raised $57,957 – $11,559 for Helpline and $2,898 for Fishline. We’re hoping to top $60,000 this year.

In addition to the walk itself, CROP Hunger Walk funds are raised through Restaurant Day.

On Sept. 23, several Bainbridge Island restaurants are offering a portion of their receipts for CROP Walk.

The restaurants working with the walk this year include:

Bainbridge Bakers, Bainbridge Island BBQ, Cafe Nola, Casa Rojas, Commuter Comforts, Doc’s Marina Grill, Four Swallows, Harbour Public House, Island Grill, Modern Pie, New Rose Café, Pegasus Coffee House, San Carlos Restaurant, Sawatdy Thai Cuisine, Spice Route Indian Cuisine, Streamliner Diner, Teriyaki Town, That’s A Some Pizza and Treehouse Café.

Don’t forget to say “thank you” to the restaurant managers.

This is a great program, and we’re lucky to have such fine business folks in our community.

Part of the amazing success of the BI/NK CROP Hunger Walk was bolstered several years ago with the emergence of a true angel – a donor who will match every dollar earned by walkers.

So, when you are pledging to the walk this year – think, again, about that doubling magic!

If you can’t make it out on Sept. 26, find a walker and offer a pledge, and eat out on Sept. 23.

Or, you can go to www.cropwalkonline.org, navigate to the Bainbridge walk, and donate online.

For more information on the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap CROP Hunger Walk, contact Nancy Quitslund at 780-9422.

David Beemer is a member of the CROP Hunger Walk Team.

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