Annual ‘Hunger Walk’ offers best of Bainbridge | Guest Column | David Beemer

I’ve been involved on the leadership committee for the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap CROP Hunger Walk for seven or eight years now. I am always amazed and somewhat humbled by the enthusiasm of our community when we gather together on that early fall afternoon for a walk around Winslow.

Looking through some of my “historical documents” regarding the event, I came across a photo of some happy Bainbridge Island CROP walkers.

Centermost in that photo was a young man in a wheelchair – his smile radiating sheer joy and enthusiasm at taking part in the event with his friends, his community.

That young man, Luke Chadwick, passed away recently, but not before leaving a legacy of smiles, hugs, laughs and just a pure passion for life. Back when Luke was the Spartan boys’ basketball team manager, the lessons learned by the players and fans during those years were not only about the action between the baskets.

We all learned a little from Luke about the importance of taking time to just get a kick out of life, and not being afraid to show it.

Smiles are contagious, and you can bet there’ll be plenty of smiles to go around as walkers tread down the streets on Oct. 4 for the annual CROP Hunger Walk. We smile because we’re together and we’re doing something important.

It is a Church World Service (CWS) event, with money’s supporting the fight to stop world hunger, and providing funding for food and services for people needing immediate aid – such as victims of natural disasters around the world.

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, $430,000 has been raised, which works out to more than $86,000 for Helpline House and more than $21,000 for Fishline.

Last year alone, the walk raised $62,891 ($12,578 for Helpline and $3,144 for Fishline). We’re hoping to top $60,000 again this year. Personally, I’m hoping we’re able to make enough to push our historic total to more than $500,000.

So how does walking represent a fight to stop world hunger? While we may jump into our car to gather our food at Town & Country or Safeway, it isn’t that easy for folks in many developing countries around the world.

A six-mile walk might be a daily task to replenish food and water supplies for the family home. Our walking helps us show solidarity in the struggles of others. So, as the CROP organization proclaims: “We walk because they walk.”

Funds also are raised during Restaurant Day on Oct. 1, when several Bainbridge Island restaurants offer a portion of their receipts for CROP Walk.

This year’s restaurants are Bainbridge Island BBQ, Café Nola, Casa Rojas, Commuter Comforts, Doc’s Marina Grill, Four Swallows, Harbour Public House, Modern Pie, New Rose Café, Pegasus Coffee House, Penelope’s, San Carlos Restaurant, Sawadty Thai Cuisine, Streamliner Diner, Teriyaki Town, That’s A Some Pizza, and 122 Winslow.

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.

If you can’t make it out on Oct. 4, find a walker and offer a pledge, and eat out on Oct. 1. Or, you can go to www.cropwalkonline.org, navigate to the Bainbridge walk, and donate online. Just help us share the joy, and remember Luke’s smile!

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

David Beemer is a team member for the annual CROP Hunger Walk.

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