CROP Hunger Walks Celebrate 50 years, Lutheran Youth Led the Effort!

Walking for a cause. It’s not a new thing, we have all either done a walk to raise money or know about one in our community.

The first walk in the US to benefit a charity was 50 years ago and it has some amazing Lutheran youth roots.  What soon became a US movement called “CROP Hunger Walk” started as an idea of the North Dakota Luther League State Convention in 1969. Lutheran youth from around North Dakota felt called to do something to raise money for world hunger and against the backdrop of the protest movement of the 60’s, a walk to end hunger seemed like a brilliant idea.

On October 17, 1969, about 600 youth set out from the Bismarck Civic Center. They walked 25 miles in cold and windy weather to raise awareness and more than $20,000 to address hunger issues.

Their walk inspired a movement and today, 50 years later, over 800 CROP Hunger Walks around the country will raise over $8 million this year to combat hunger and poverty, both locally and around the world.

The LA Times called the CROP Hunger Walk, “the granddaddy of all walkathons”. Yes, all walks – not just Hunger Walks. A fundraising model that started with a group of Lutheran high school students is now a tool that countless non-profits use throughout the country and around the world to serve those in need!

Church World Service sponsors CROP Hunger Walks across the country. While they are interfaith, community-wide events, Lutherans (and the ELCA specifically) continue to be vital partners of CWS.

A group of Lutheran high school students were pivotal in establishing this legacy. In honor of our 50th anniversary, we invite you to be a part of that legacy today! Join a Walk near you:

Thanks to our guest blogger, Jon Skogen, Sr. Community Engagement Specialist at Church World Service.

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