How can I make a difference?
When I read news stories about people suffering from food insecurity or emergency situations in our own community or across the world, my heart goes out to those people. I imagine how parents in difficult situations are able to continue daily without access to clean drinking water, or adequate food for their children.
I put myself in their shoes and wonder how I’d be able to survive if my community and its infrastructure were devastated by a natural disaster or perpetual lack of access to clean water, daily food, or adequate healthcare. Then I think of Mr. Roger’s quote of “find the helpers” and know that my life and my efforts can make a positive difference with the many problems people face in our country and around the world.
The Los Alamos CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walk & Turkey Trot raises money each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 18 this year, to support the mission of one of the helpers, Church World Service (CWS). CWS is an inter-denominational organization that was formed in response to the aftermath of World War II, when they provided more than 11 million pounds of food, clothing and medical supplies to war-torn Europe and Asia.
In recent years, funds raised have helped provide emergency relief in our country to assist with flooding in Indiana and multiple hurricanes in the southern states. Internationally they have provided emergency relief for earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions in locations such as Haiti, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Japan. They provide microloans to people to start small businesses, help give consistent access to water, and support sustainable food access.
783 million people throughout the world have little or no access to clean water and nearly 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. There is a great six minute Youtube video titled “Women and Water in Rural Kenya”, which discusses women spending 11 hours each day walking to find and bring home water. CWS helped that specific village and assists other communities to build and maintain a variety of water systems – from sand dams to wells to reservoirs. Food security and nutrition improve when clean, stable water sources help diversify crops, and clean water means less disease. Displacement decreases as people no longer have to abandon their communities due to lack of drinking water. Ultimately, standards of living rise because people spend less time searching for water and more time getting an education or earning a living.
CWS also works with communities to overcome the root causes of hunger. Access to land to grow food is essential for indigenous communities long denied right to their ancestral lands as well as to the women smallholder farmers who grow the vast majority of food consumed around the globe. Ensuring proper nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is key to their healthy growth and realizing their full potential in life. CWS works with communities to find ways for people to feed themselves sustainably and nutritiously.
We have a wonderful opportunity in Los Alamos to participate in a 2.57 mile fun walk/run while raising money to help address poverty and hunger on local and global levels. Why such an odd distance as 2.57 miles for our fun walk/run? That is close to the average distance people in developing nations walk to get water, so we symbolically support their efforts. There is no cost for our local event, but monetary donations are greatly appreciated. 25% of the donations go to LA Cares to address local hunger relief efforts, while 75% of the donations go to CROP Walk/CWS to address global hunger, poverty, and emergency relief efforts.
The 2018 CROP Hunger Walk/Turkey Trot is Sunday, Nov. 18 at Los Alamos Middle School. Please arrive between 1 p.m. and 1:50 p.m. at the middle school cafeteria to register by signing a waiver and arrive early to get a t-shirt. The fun walk/run starts at 2 p.m. on the north end of the middle school parking lot. Well-behaved non-reactive dogs whose owners pick up after them are welcome on short leashes, but cannot enter the school cafeteria. After walking or running, there will be light refreshments with a 3 p.m. start time for the random drawings for turkeys and pumpkin pies. This is an enjoyable family event where we all can make a positive difference by raising money to help the helpers. You can create your own donation page and ask your friends and family across the country to sponsor you, or donate directly to an individual or team from the overall Los Alamos page at www.crophungis erwalk.org/losalamosnm.
Please contact Lynn Wysocki-Smith, at email@example.com, or 505.661.9619 for more details.
Donations will be accepted online or at the CROP Hunger Walk/Turkey Trot with cash or checks made out to “CROP Walk”.