EVERETT — Shirley Solberg is ready.
She’s wearing her red and white T-shirt with CROP across the front. She’s out to collect a few good pledges and maybe encourage a few new walkers.
“I’m kind of a walking sign after Sunday worship,” Solberg, who attends Everett First Presbyterian Church, said. “I walk around not necessarily to get pledges for myself but also to remind people.”
On Sunday, Solberg, 75, will participate in the 25th annual Greater Everett CROP Hunger Walk to raise awareness of hunger and poverty issues locally and worldwide.
Participants of the 3-mile CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walk collect monetary pledges for Church World Service, a cooperative ministry of various denominations that works to eradicate hunger and poverty throughout the world. The Interfaith Association of Northwest Washington in Everett sponsors the Greater Everett CROP Hunger Walk.
“I like it because you can get a number of small donations, so it gives a lot of people in a church or neighborhood who don’t have much to give a chance to give a little bit,” Solberg said.
She has been a part of the walk in some capacity since 1984 when it began in Everett. CROP walks started after World War II when farmers in the United States decided to share grain with people in war-torn Europe.
“We thought at that time it was just going to be short lived until everyone could get back on their feet and it will be short lived,” Solberg said. “As soon as there are no hungry people anymore, we’ll stop.”
Although most walkers are affiliated with local churches, anyone is welcome to volunteer for or walk in the event, she added.
About 100 people from local churches including Cedar Cross United Methodist in Mill Creek, Edmonds Unitarian Universalists, various Baha’i communities and Everett’s Central Lutheran, First Congregational, First Presbyterian, First United Methodist, Prince of Peace Lutheran and Temple Beth Or are expected to walk this Sunday. Another 100 walkers are expected to participate in the Snohomish CROP Hunger Walk beginning at 2 p.m. on Oct. 11 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Snohomish.
The Greater Everett CROP Hunger Walk route starts and ends at St. Paul United Methodist Church. The path is especially familiar to Steve Morse of Everett’s First United Methodist Church who designed this year’s route. He first participated in a CROP Walk in Renton two decades ago when his son was in a stroller and said he was happy to get involved in the Everett walk several years ago.
“Somebody donated money to somebody along the walk one year and that was just incredible,” he said.
Twenty-five percent of the money raised in the Everett walk is used locally, according to Bette Schneider, Interfaith office manager. In past years, funds have supported community dinner programs and the Interfaith Family Shelter in downtown Everett.
“Funds will go where they’re most needed, usually it’s the shelter,” Schneider said.
Volunteers have raised $284,750 since the Everett walk began and member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Carol Foort looks forward to taking steps to raise more money this year.
“I’m hoping for a really good turn-out and lots of money coming in so we can serve the community and the rest of the world,” she said.
Solberg will collect as many pledges as she can before the event. For her, taking part in the fundraiser is also an expression of her faith.
“It’s important to remember that we walk optionally,” she said. “But we walk for a whole lot of people who walk because it is the only way they get anywhere. It reminds us to count our blessings.”
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491, email@example.com.
You can help walk for hunger
Be part of the pre-CROP Walk Interfaith Devotional Gathering at 7 tonight at A Gathering Grove, 2820 Oakes Ave., Everett. The band Jewbilee will perform songs and teach dance.
On Sunday, meet at 12:30 p.m. at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 2005 Colby Ave., Everett, for registration. The walk begins at 1 p.m.