Crop Hunger Walk coming up Oct. 18

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By AJ Vicens

Times are tough in the good old USA, but Caryn and Peter Boddie of South Jeffco are hoping that area residents still can find a few spare dollars for the less fortunate in other countries.

"There are a lot of fund-raisers," Peter Boddie said. "But this is one of the only ones where you can help people in other countries and participate in something and connect to people in other countries."

Boddie was referring to the 20th annual Crop Hunger Walk, a 3-mile jaunt around Johnson Lake in Clement Park set for 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 18. Participants raise money through pledges, with proceeds going to the Church World Service. The group will use the money for disaster relief, refugee aid and community development.

In addition, 25 percent of the money raised Oct. 18 will go to local food banks like the Jeffco Action Center, Interfaith Community Services and Denver Urban Ministries, among others.

Boddie said the event has raised as much as $40,000 in one year and is well over the $400,000 mark during the 20 years it has been held in South Jeffco.

The Crop Hunger Walk dates to post-World War II America. A small group of churches in the Midwest wanted to donate food to war-stricken Europe after the war. They organized small communities to donate crops, which were packed into rail cars and then shipped to Europe. The word "crop" was turned into an acronym and stood for "Christian Rural Overseas Program." Now the letters stand for "Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty."

Boddie is in his eighth year as co-coordinator of the event and says it will be more than just a walk in the park. Some of the food banks that receive money from the event will be on site to explain their missions and possibly recruit volunteers. There will be international aid groups on hand as well, explaining what they do and how they do it. The international groups work in different countries, and children at the events will be given fake passports to be stamped at the various tables as proof they've learned about the different countries.

The event also serves as a canned-food drive. And there will be live music.

"Really, it's just a fun time for everyone," Boddie said, adding that one of the themes for the day is "We walk because they walk." Boddie said that in his travels to third world nations, he's noticed that most people can't afford cars, and many can't even afford bicycles, forcing them to walk everywhere.

"We can walk one day and raise some money for them, and they can get help out of poverty," he said.

Caryn Boddie said she likes the event because it involves regular people donating money to regular people, with very little bureaucratic interference.

"I think it says a lot about the big-heartedness of little people," she said. "(People) understand that even though they have to work hard, they're blessed, and people around the world aren't as blessed as they are."

Contact AJ Vicens at aj@evergreenco.com, and check www.columbinecourier.com for updates and breaking news.

The Crop Hunger Walk will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 18 at Clement Park. For more information or ways to donate, visit www.foothillscrop.org.