The 4th Annual CROP (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) Hunger Walk took place in Eisenhower Park, East Meadow NY on the perfect autumn morning of Saturday, 19 October. Sponsored by the humanitarian aid organization Church World Service, eighty to ninety mostly Long Islanders stepped off to a one or two mile course raising funds from sponsors to feed the hungry and, more especially, to provide methods and materials that help people in impoverished countries to grow better crops and themselves raise their standard of living.
Groups participating were from the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in East Meadow (Arlene Kallaur, Coordinator) and their priest, Father Martin Kraus; Holy Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church, Brookville (Irene Dallaris & Sophia Niarchos, Co-Captains), Saint Paul Greek Orthodox Church, Hempstead (Steve Pontickio, Captain) and their priest, Father Luke Melackrinos, whose Young Adult League was holding a diocesan conference at their parish that day and decided to start off their program with the Walk. Some 20 members of the Uniondale High School Key Club, a service organization, also joined in.
One walker, Sonya Mobilio, summed up her feelings of the morning: “Personally, this was an exhilarating experience for me … a small amount of my retirement time for such a huge goal -- to build a world where there is enough for all.”
Hot soup and other refreshments followed the Walk, ending with an impromptu songfest. Arlene Kallaur informed the group that 1,200 walks are held across the country each year, with 15 walks on Long Island alone. Up to 25% of the funds the Walk raises remain locally to assist food pantries, community gardens, and other hunger-fighting initiatives. The Long Island Council of Churches (LICC) will receive this year’s funds. Among its many programs, it runs food pantries in Freeport and Riverhead, and continues to be very active in assisting victims of Hurricane Sandy to recover their homes and their lives.