It’s probably safe to say that when we started 2020, none of us could have guessed what the coming year would bring. The changing of times and of habits in our daily lives has offered many a chance to be thankful for what we have and for our health.
Every fall, I am part of the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap CROP Hunger Walk organizing committee that hosts the annual walk in late September on Bainbridge Island. And, every fall, I find myself back on the pages of the Bainbridge Review asking for community support of this important cause.
It’s fun to see the excitement stirring in the crowd as we launch the walk and to enjoy the rich conversations while we walk with friends and neighbors in our effort to support Church World Service and Helpline of Bainbridge and Fishline of Poulsbo.
Of the monies earned in the event, 20 percent goes to Helpline, 5 percent to Fishline, and the remaining 75 percent is retained by CWS to provide a plethora of worldwide relief services from food distribution, to sanitary facilities construction, to agricultural assistance and education. CWS has remained a vital part of the worldwide support needed during the current pandemic.
With COVID-19, we were forced to cancel the physical, one-day walk and celebration. However, the pandemic is not offering a pause to world hunger or the needs of our local food banks. In fact, because of the economic stresses of COVID, Helpline is noting a bump up in the number of families seeking weekly food support.
Seventy new households joined the regular lists of folks utilizing Helpline. Fishline of Poulsbo is also seeing some definite changes as they have retooled to fit the current safe-distancing standards. Since March at Fishline, the food needs and distribution has more than doubled.
So – the 2020 version of the CROP Hunger Walk will be completely virtual. We are going to hold the “Walk” for all of September, and are hoping to have a few fun things to help us celebrate at the end of the month.
For example, this past Sunday, Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers created his own version of the walk by trekking from Fishline in Poulsbo to Helpline on Bainbridge. The words at his service that day talked about remembering to keep our eyes open to the world of need.
In these days of hunkering down and focusing on our own community, state and country – it is important to remember that the needs are worldwide. His idea, and an idea for each virtual walker, would be to create your own walk – your own way of walking through the world.
The fundraising will be mostly online, and we are encouraging participants to create and record video “walks” around the island to post on the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap CROP Hunger Walk Facebook page or the Instagram site at Bainbridge.nk.crophungerwalk.
Most importantly – signup to be a participant or to donate at the CWS CROP Hunger Walks site: www.crophungerwalk.org/bainbridgeislandwa. At that location, you will immediately see a place to register and/or donate. You can sign up to participate as a fundraiser and virtual walker, or even just donate to your favorite walker.
For details about the event or help navigating the site, contact me at 206-715-3901. If you want to donate a check or cash, you can drop that off in the mail slot at the regular walk starting point – Eagle Harbor Congregational Church in Winslow. I’ve been one of the nightly bell ringers there at 8 p.m., so I will look for envelopes designated for the Hunger Walk.
I look forward to seeing you all out there in the “virtual” walking world!
David Beemer is a committee member with the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap CROP Hunger Walk Team.