By Aimee Zabel
Members of the Rider community gathered Sunday to raise money as part of the Crop Walk, a nationally sponsored event held annually in the fall. Participants completed the 10-kilometer walk around the Mercer County area in an effort to stamp out hunger worldwide.
Sponsored by the Rider Campus Ministry, the Crop Walk is nationally funded by the Church World Service, an organization that works to provide relief and meet human needs around the globe. The Crop Walk not only raises money to provide necessary goods for people who are affected by poverty and other disasters, but it also serves to raise awareness for those who are not familiar with the number of poverty-stricken people in this country.
“I truly hope that students will take a closer look at the Crop Walk slogan, ‘We walk because they walk,’” said the Rev. Nancy Schluter, head of Rider’s Protestant Campus Ministry. “Students and other people need to realize who the ‘they’ are. One in seven people is hungry. Some people in this country have to walk to get food, water, to get to their jobs — things that we take for granted.”
Schluter pointed out that not only does the Crop Walk target the nation’s poverty, but it also focuses on the fact that this country has huge surpluses of crops and other things that are taken for granted. The Crop Walk makes the statement that not enough is being done to stamp out hunger in the United States, let alone in the rest of the world. But by mere participation in walks or food drives, it is possible to gradually help solve the problem, one person at a time.
In addition to an outpouring of community participation in the walk, several groups of Rider students joined in the fight against hunger. Rider SERVES, a community service organization centered on campus, collected $446.75 from students in the residence halls. Several sororities and fraternities, such as Phi Sigma Sigma, Delta Phi Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Tau Kappa Epsilon also participated in the walk.
Junior Stephanie Dutcher, a sister of Phi Sigma Sigma and the secretary of Rider SERVES, thinks it is important for students to participate to help those in need.
“The average age of a hungry person is seven years old, according to statistics, and that is just way too young,” she said. “There are far too many people that are hungry in Mercer County alone. I am here because I am really hoping to make a difference.”