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CROP Walk focuses on help with hunger; walk will be indoors

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To the Rev. Dell Sanderson of Faith Lutheran Church in Morris, the April 8 CROP Hunger Walk in Morris is a way to unite the community in a common cause.

"It's a common experience to raise money for, and raise awareness about, hunger and hunger related (issues)," Sanderson said.

"The CROP Walk is a good community experience that can bridge the gap between churches, the community and the (University of Minnesota, Morris) campus," Sanderson said.

CROP Walks are sponsored by Church World Service. Money raised in Morris will be split between one-fourth to the Stevens County Food Shelf and three-fourths to world hunger efforts. The money used at the international level goes toward seeds, tools, wells and water systems and other efforts to address hunger.

Sanderson and Dennis Johnson, another CROP Walk organizer, have walked in CROP Walks before this one.

"My first involvement was 20 years ago," Johnson said. After he met an early organizer of the first CROP Hunger Walk, Johnson helped start a CROP Hunger Walk in Morris. But, it's been at least 11 years since there was a walk in Morris.

Johnson said several people have been talking about CROP walk for a few years and this year, the effort came together.

The response from the public so far has been good, Johnson said. Yet, because it's been more than 10 years since the last CROP Walk in Morris, the public may still need to learn about the project, Sanderson said.

The walk is a figurative and literal reminder of hunger issues that people struggle with, Sanderson said.

During one CROP Walk more than 10 years ago in Luverne, Sanderson was walking with his young daughter. She had started to complain that her legs hurt but then, asked about the event's T-shirts. The T-shirts had a picture of woman with a jar on her head. Sanderson explained that some women had to walk a mile or more with a jug on their heads to get water. The woman's legs likely hurt at times too as she walked to get water.

"She looked at me as if she understood. I think she got it," Sanderson said. His young daughter understood that her legs would only hurt for a while but the woman had to walk for water each day, he said.

"That's part of the learning experience," Sanderson said.

CROP Hunger Walk participants are asked to raise money from those who sponsor them as they walk.

Register to walk or sponsor a walker by using Walkers and donors may also use a paper donation envelope available at their church office or at First Lutheran Church. Money can be brought to the CROP Walk on April 8. The event starts at 12:30 p.m. with registration followed by some educational information at Federated Church in Morris. The walk route is about 1.5 miles but will be held inside Morris Area High School because of expected bad weather.

A concert by Dakota Road at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, at Faith Lutheran Church will raise money for the CROP Walk. The concert is a free-will event.