Cornell students and local residents marched from Ho Plaza through the streets of downtown Ithaca towards DeWitt Park yesterday to raise money for the 22nd annual Crop Walk, marking the first year that Cornell organizations participated in the event.
Students marched with their fraternities, sororities, residence halls, church groups and even singing groups to raise money and awareness for hunger and poverty.
Crop walking is sponsored nationally by Churchworld Service, an international charitable organization, and it is sponsored locally by Area Congregations Together (ACT).
Cornell’s involvement in the walk was organized by Phil Fiadino, chaplain at Cornell United Religious Works (CURW) and members of the Sigma Pi fraternity and the Kappa Delta sorority. The Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association and Multi-Greek Letter Council also helped organize Cornell students in the walk.
Some of the groups that marched raised large amounts of money. For instance, residents of Court Hall raised over 500 dollars for the walk, according to Fiadino.
Typically, the Ithaca Crop Walk raises $15,000 for Churchworld Service, which distributes money to many different national and international charities.
“This money goes worldwide with specific destinations,” said Joan Abrams, post chair of ACT. One-quarter of the money raised goes back to the Ithaca community, where it supports the Kitchen Cupboard, a local food pantry.
Organizers said they appreciated students’ concern for hunger and poverty.
“The message at least for me was that there were close to 70 students who took time out of their competitive schedules on a busy Sunday afternoon to walk, to show their support for an important cause,” Fiadino said.
“That cause is two-fold. One is that those who are hungry can eat. The second is that by walking, our students showed that they are in solidarity with others around the world who care for the poor,” Fiadino added.
After joining with other Crop walkers — local Ithaca residents — at DeWitt Park, students were addressed by Ithaca Mayor Alan Cohen ’81.
The group then marched through the Ithaca Commons and through the south side of the city to the Methodist Episcopal Zion Church for refreshments. This Church had profound humanitarian meaning as it was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
The walk then continued through the poorer neighborhoods of Ithaca.
“It was important to walk through the poorer neighborhoods because some of the money will go to help people right in our own community,” Fiadino said.
The walk ended at St. John’s Episcopal Church, where refreshments were served.
As they marched, Cornell students held 24 balloons to highlight the fact that 24 children around the world die from hunger or preventable diseases every minute.
Students said that they were very pleased with the good deed they had done.
“We know that we want to raise money to help stop hunger,” said Dale Davis ’03, who marched with 21 other students from Risley Residential College.
“I love that it was organized through Cornell. Not only did we hope to stop hunger, but we hoped to bring all these students together,” Davis added.
Supporting the Crop Walk is one of many causes that ACT supports.
“We are representative of two temples — the Namgyal monastery and the Baha’I community, as well as Presbyterians, Baptists and many other religious groups,” Abrams said. “Our goal is to keep the dialogue between religious groups open, and of course we also support the Crop Walk.”
Organizers of the event were very pleased with its outcome.
“It shows students care about the hungry and poor, not only in our community but worldwide as well” Fiadino said. “So I think it was very successful.”
Archived article by Erica Temel