Students Walk to Support Hunger Relief


Jiahua Chen '20

Daniel Pai ’19 and Jack Kempczinski ’20 cheer on walkers as they participate in the annual Crop Walk last Sunday.

Michael Duncan ’19, Boys Varsity Cross-Country co-captain, typically competes in the five-kilometer race at meets, but last Sunday he laced up his sneakers for a different reason. After competing in the Canterbury Invitational on Saturday afternoon, Michael and his teammates headed out to Falls Village for the annual Northwest Connecticut Crop Walk. Duncan said,  “I liked running in the Crop Walk, because it’s fun having a practice with the team that’s also for a good cause.”

The Crop Walk, which invites participants to run, jog, or walk five or ten kilometers, raises money for hunger relief in the local community as well as larger-scale disaster relief. For each dollar raised, 25 cents stays in the northwest corner of Connecticut, and the remaining 75 cents funds international hunger-relief efforts.

Members of the St. Luke’s Society, the school’s oldest community service organization, collected donations and facilitated student sign-ups in the dining hall during the week leading up to the Crop Walk. The Olympians and Pythians Committee also agreed to offer points to the team with the greatest level of contribution.

After raising $4800 during last year’s Crop Walk, St. Luke’s increased its goal to $5500 for the 2018 fundraiser. By Thursday night, just three days before the Crop Walk, the club had raised less than half of that goal. Alisa Ghura, co-head of St. Luke’s, said, “The club heads decided to have an emergency meeting with our board, because there had been some disorganization throughout the week and we were still far below our goal. We decided to open up fundraising tables at dinner and send emails to the student body about sign-ups [for] Olympians and Pythians points.”

The club’s additional efforts proved successful.  The total amount raised stood at just under $5900 on Monday, with donations still rolling in from donors who chose to sponsor student groups.

On Sunday afternoon, mid-buses transported 123 walkers from Hotchkiss to Housatonic Valley Regional High School, the starting point of the Crop Walk. While many opted to walk, Solomon Toure ’19, Boys Varsity Cross-Country co-captain, was the first runner to complete ten kilometers, with a time of 40:50.

“The Crop Walk has a very special place in my heart, as it is what first got me hooked on St. Luke’s work my Prep year.”

— Alisa Ghura ’19

The Crop Walk regularly sees high participation from other local boarding schools, including Indian Mountain School and Salisbury School. The Golden Sneaker Award, awarded to the group or organization that contributes the largest donation, has gone to Hotchkiss for the last three years.

On Thursday October 4, St. Luke’s Society released an email to the community announcing the final funds raised and number of participants. This year, the Crop Walk raised $5,750, breaking the all-time record for funds raised, and over 120 members of the Hotchkiss community participated! St. Luke’s is still awaiting news on who won this year’s Golden Sneaker Award.

The Crop Walk is just one major event for St. Luke’s; the club will continue its service efforts throughout the year, with trips to the local public schools to run after-school programs, the annual blood drive, and more. Ghura said, “The Crop Walk has a very special place in my heart, as it is what first got me hooked on St. Luke’s work my prep year. It has been surreal to see how much the society has grown in just four years.”