RED BANK AREA CROP WALK SET FOR OCTOBER 20 By Tony Senk
Mother Teresa once said, “We cannot all do great things — but we can do small things with great love.” Janie Schildge, organizer of the Red Bank Area Crop Walk for the Hungry, along with other crop walk organizers, hope there are an ample number of walkers who aim to do both great things and small things with love at the 33rd Annual Red Bank Area Crop Walk, scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 20.
The Red Bank Area Crop Walk is a five-mile walk/run to raise funds to fight hunger in Monmouth County and around the world. The fun family activities before the walk and the camaraderie of the walk itself make it a great way to help those in need — and to help end hunger one step at a time! Over the years, the Red Bank Area Crop Walk has become the number one crop walk in the state, and the fourth largest crop walk in the nation.
Registration for the walk starts at 1:00 p.m. and the walk starts at 2:00 p.m. This year’s fun starts at Red Bank Regional High School and will feature a pre-walk family fun day, including some very special community service events. There will be exercise events for the body and soul, a deejay with great music, the annual crop walk banner/poster contest, educational activities, t-shirts, caps, and wristbands, plus water, ice cream, and apples.
Mrs. Schildge, who — incredibly — has been coordinating the Red Bank Area Crop Walk since 1985, hopes that this year’s walk is even more successful than last year’s highly-successful event. At the same time, crop walk coordinators are completing this year’s planning work with a heavy heart due to the passing, last month, of Dr. Marie Varley, the retired regional director of Church World Service (CWS) for metropolitan New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. CWS is an ecumenical organization that works to eradicate hunger and poverty and promote peace and justice around the world.
Of Dr. Varley’s passing, Mrs. Schildge said, “It seems appropriate that she is at rest now on this Labor Day, as she labored for over three decades on behalf of the human family through her work with Church World Service.” Mrs. Schildge said Dr. Varley was a Dominican nun and a school principal who welcomed all who needed her help and who, over the years, helped thousands.
“In the aftermath of 9/11,” said Mrs. Schildge, “Dr. Varley reached out to those falling through the cracks and cared for many through the efforts of CWS — and on her own, even babysitting for widows and helping people connect with resources. She was our role model for our crop walk work. Every October, many members of her large family came to the crop walk and helped with our food drive — and I know they will join us again this year.”
Crop walk participants are encouraged to bring rice, beans, and peanut butter for the crop walk food collection. These items are nutritional, easy to keep, and are the most popular foods in local food pantries. The goal this year is to collect 14,000 pounds of rice, beans, and peanut butter.
The year, the crop walk will raise funds to help hungry neighbors around the block — and around the world. Locally, the following partner agencies and food pantries supported by the generosity of crop walk participants include Lunch Break, Aslan Youth Ministries, Manna House, HABcore, AACC Food Pantry, Bayshore Lunch Program, Calico Cat, Monmouth Day Care Center, Meal at Noon, Horizons, Family Promise, the Center in Asbury Park, Inc., St. Anthony’s Food Pantry, Project Paul, Matawan Community Food Pantry, Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry, and the Matawan UMC Food Pantry. In addition, crop walks provide support for global partners in 80 countries to provide immediate disaster response and humanitarian assistance through the CWS.
Red Bank Regional High School, the site of the start of the crop walk, is located at 101 Ridge Road in Little Silver.
“Everyone has lots of fun on walk day,” said Mrs. Schildge. “With the music, the clowns, the community tables and information tables, the art contest, and the refreshments, there is something for everyone at the crop walk. But most importantly, you should participate in the crop walk because, by doing so, you will be doing something to really help others who need your help. By thinking globally and acting locally, with your help — and with your heart and sole — together, we can help end hunger one step at a time.”
For more information on the Red Bank Area Crop Walk, see the crop walk website at www.redbankcropwalk.com.