The Lancaster Crop Hunger Walk, a local fixture since 1973, will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 64 Hershey Ave., Lancaster. Walkers can traverse either a 1-mile or 5-kilometer loop in the area of Buchanan Park. The event raised $77,000 last year and LNP’s Earle Cornelius reported last week that, since its inception, the local walk has raised more than $5 million to feed the hungry.
We cheer the ongoing tradition that is the Lancaster Crop Hunger Walk, just one of the many charitable events that show how compassion for others is part of the fabric of who we are in Lancaster County.
The fundraising total since 1973 is breathtaking. And it is money that has surely done much good for so many.
Another great aspect is that those who raise the funds benefit too, by getting to stretch their legs and stroll along our beautiful streets.
LNP’s Cornelius touched on some delightful parts of this event’s history in his Faith & Values article Saturday.
While Lancaster’s event began in 1973, this year is actually the 50-year anniversary of national Crop Walks. The first two were held in 1969 — one right across the river in York and the other in Bismarck, North Dakota.
To help mark that anniversary, Maurice Bloem, executive vice president of the global Church World Service, completed a 150-mile walk from New York to York on Sunday.
“This is the eighth time Bloem has walked 100 or more miles in advance of the fall Crop Hunger Walk,” Cornelius noted.
Last year, Bloem’s walk took him from Indonesia to East Timor. He told Cornelius that his shoe-leather adventures “are a way to meet people, collect stories and raise awareness about hunger in the world.”
Indeed, according to the United Nations, more than 821 million people suffered from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide in 2018. That’s 1 of every 9 humans on Earth. It marked the third year in a row that U.N.-reported number has increased. War, famine, poverty and global warming are all contributing factors.
We cannot, of course, eradicate hunger by ourselves. But it is heartening to see Lancaster continue to do its part.
Those who still want to participate in Sunday’s event in Lancaster city can do so. Registration begins at 1 p.m. — a half-hour prior to the start — at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Getting a little exercise and helping the hungry seems like a great way to spend part of the weekend.
Powerful voice for democracy
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore died early Thursday at age 68. He was, as is often noted, a son of former sharecroppers. He became one of the iconic political figures in our nation.
He was passionate in fighting to uphold civil rights, justice, democracy and the sacred right to vote. At the tender age of 11, The Washington Post reported, Cummings “helped integrate a local swimming pool while being attacked with bottles and rocks.” (He sustained a scar on his face that lasted his whole life.)
That was in Baltimore, his beloved city, whose poorest residents he would go on to champion in Congress.
To Steve Kroft, of “60 Minutes,” Cummings explained why his father cried while watching him being sworn into Congress in 1996: “Isn’t this the place where they used to call us slaves?” his emotional father asked him. “When I think about you being sworn in today, now I see what I could have been if I had had an opportunity.”
Cummings fought to give others opportunity throughout his years in office.
At the April 2015 funeral of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, Cummings vowed “we will not rest until we ... see that justice is done.”
When riots and looting broke out after the funeral, Cummings took to the West Baltimore streets, with a bullhorn in hand, to calm the unrest. As the Post noted, the congressman and a dozen other residents “marched arm in arm, through the streets, singing ‘This Little Light of Mine.’ ”
As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings worked to the end toward his aim of holding President Donald Trump accountable.
So it’s remarkable that one of the most moving tributes to Cummings was posted to Twitter on Thursday by former Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy. We’re quoting Gowdy at length here, because his words say a great deal about the deep respect Cummings drew on both sides of the aisle. And because they remind us that political disagreement doesn’t have to lead to alienation.
“Elijah Cummings was one of the most powerful, beautiful & compelling voices in American politics,” Gowdy wrote. “The power and the beauty came from his authenticity, his conviction, the sincerity with which he held his beliefs.”
Gowdy noted that he and Cummings “never had a cross word outside of a committee room. He had a unique ability to separate the personal from the work.”
Gowdy continued: “The obstacles, barriers, and roadblocks he overcame, the external and sometimes internal doubt that whispered in the ear of a young Elijah Cummings. He beat it all.
“He beat the odds. He beat the low expectations of that former school employee who told Elijah to abandon the dream of being a lawyer ... to settle for a job with his hands and not his mind.”
“... It is true Elijah was a proud progressive with a booming, melodious voice who found himself in the middle of most major political stories over the past decade. It is inescapable that be part of his legacy. But his legacy also includes the path he took to become one of the most powerful political figures of his time. It is a path filled with pain, prejudice, obstacles and doubt that he refused to let stop him. His legacy is perseverance. His legacy is fighting through the pain.
“His legacy is making sure there were fewer obstacles for the next Elijah Cummings. His legacy to me, above all else, was his faith. A faith in God that is being rewarded today with no more fights, no more battles, and no more pain.”
We give the last word to Cummings himself: “When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?”
He did his part. He did more than his part.