Wednesday, May 06, 2015

'By Now, Many People Expect to See Art There'

Photo courtesy of Shirley Simon
The annual CROP Hunger Walk in Hyattsville, Maryland (in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.), had attracted more than $10,000 in online donations by the time participants started to walk on Sunday, May The money raised by walkers in Hyattsville (and similar CROP Walks elsewhere) helps support the overall ministry of Church World Service, especially grassroots, hunger-fighting development efforts around the world. Each local CROP Hunger Walk can choose to return up to 25 percent of the funds it raises to hunger-fighting programs in its own community.

In some communities, CWS volunteer organizers partner with local Bread for the World grassroots volunteers to offer participants another way to make a differeince: the opportunity to write letters to Congress around Bread for the World's Offering of Letters campaign. The 2015 campaign,  Feed Our Children, urges Congress to renew and expand vital child nutrition programs.

The Hyattasville CROP Walk included an opportunity for walkers to write letters, and there was a familiar figure handing out Offering of Letters materials to participants as they completed their walk. That person was Bread for the World founder Art Simon. "Art has been doing this for many years," said his wife Shirley Simon. "He meets the people when they return from their 3-mile walk. By now,many people, expect to see Art there."

Shirley Simon pointed out that the set-up of the Hyattsville CROP Walk makes it difficult to write letters on the spot, so the materials that Art gives them provided background on the Offering of Letters campaign, suggestions what information to include in the letters, and the addresses of the U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (for those who live in the adjacent congressional district), U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin.

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