CROP Walk plans kick off

With the goal to “Give Hunger the Boot,” plans for Merrill’s CROP Walk XXIX are underway. This year the walk will take place on Sunday, Oct. 9. Registration will begin at 1 p.m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, with the walk beginning at 1:30. Participants may choose one of three routes – 1.5 miles, 3 miles or 5 miles in length. Each route leads back to Our Saviour’s where walkers will be invited to cool off with ice cream floats. Participants are asked to bring a non-perishable food item, which will be hand-delivered to the Food Pantry as part of the walk.

Where does money collected for CROP Walk go? The Merrill Food Pantry will receive a full 25% of all money earned by walkers. Other earnings are distributed by the ecumenical organization Church World Service to those around the world without access to food pantries.

A number of incentives have been added to this year’s CROP Walk. Fall 2011 marks the introduction of The Boot – a traveling trophy awarded to the team which collects the most monetary donations for world hunger abatement. The trophy s a handsome golden boot mounted on a pedestal crafted by local woodworker Al Handlin. Each year the name of the top fundraising team will be engraved on a plaque and added to the pedestal.

Jamie Diestelhorst, youth director at Our Saviour’s, has extended a special CROP Walk Challenge to other youth groups. The youth group gathering the most monetary donations will be awarded half-price tickets to a movie of their choice at the Cosmo Theater.

Other incentives include gift certificates donated by Culver’s for the Youngest Walker, the Oldest Walker, and the team with the most walkers. The top individual earner will receive a gift certificate for a 14-inch pizza from Queenie and Ron’s.

Who can form a CROP Walk team? Anyone that would like to help – a book club, co-workers, Zumba class, congregation, service organization, athletic team, family or a group of friends. Strollers and family dogs are welcome, but no skateboards or rollerblades, please.

If you are unable to participate in the walk, you can become a Spirit Walker, simply by donating to a member of one of the registered teams. To register your team, or to find our more details, call Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, coordinator of this year’s walk, at 715-536-5813. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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