By Lilliana Chavez |
On Sunday, April 7, the community gathered at the Alamosa Senior Center for the 25th annual San Luis Valley (SLV) CROP Hunger Walk. The CROP Hunger Walk was founded through the Church World Services (CWS), and was the beginning event in a series of events for Hunger Education Week. La Puente hosts the event, and does the promotional campaigning in order to draw people in and encourage them to participate. Anyone can participate in these events, and on Sunday there was participation from many areas of the community including the Adams State Student Nurses’ Association (ASSNA).
The main event involves a 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) walk around the town of Alamosa. The walk “puts things into perspective,” noted Kate Kelly, an organizer for the event. The walk itself took participants out of Cole Park, across the train tracks, and even through the La Puente shelter where hungry people in need receive three meals a day. There were stops along the walk that provided information about hunger-related issues in the SLV. She remarked that the length of the walk was designed to give people an insight into how far people in other countries must walk in order to acquire food. While the people in the CROP Walk were guaranteed food and beverages following their journey, the same cannot be guaranteed for those in other areas. Sometimes the people who must make those lengthy treks return with nothing to show for it because their food is not guaranteed. The point of the walk is to create an interactive environment to facilitate an understanding of the lack of accessibility in some areas. This is in stark contrast to what is readily available for the population in more developed areas. While the problem might seem far-removed to people who have easy access to nutrition, it might be shocking to know that one-fourth of the families in the SLV use the foodbank services.
In addition to providing meals for hungry families in the SLV, La Puente also has other programs to offer help to others in need. For example, the PALS program is a referral-based children’s program. PALS stands for “positive activities lead to success,” and the children who are a part of the program are offered opportunities such as trips that they would not normally have the resources to attend. La Puente also works to prevent homelessness using an outreach services program. The program helps individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless reduce the weight that falls on crucial life decisions. For example, if a person who is at risk of becoming homeless must make the difficult choice between paying a house bill and going to see the doctor, the program will offer aid to that person in order to allow the person to bay the pill and go to the doctor.
The CROP Walk raised over $2,500, and 75% of this amount will go to CWS to be distributed worldwide for ongoing hunger-relief efforts. The other 25% will remain here in the SLV and to help support the local food bank. “We are all a community,” said Kelly, who also wished to express her thanks. She thanked all of the community members and ASU students, faculty, and staff who came out and supported the community. She spoke fondly of the wide variety of ages of people who attended the event, and remarked that it shows just how good humanity can be when we come together to fight for a cause.
While the CROP Hunger Walk helps to kick off Hunger Education Week, there are still a number of events still to follow. On Thursday, April 11, there will be a Hunger Advocacy Happy Hour at the Square Peg Brewery from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. On Friday, April 12, there will be a Cooking Matters Pop Up Tour on 513 6th St from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.