ELKHART — The weather may have been cold and damp for the 33rd annual Church World Services CROP Walk, but spirits certainly were not.
Nearly 200 people registered for the 1-mile and 5k race at Island Park, held each year to benefit Church Community Services and Church World Services.
The number of participants was down signifcantly from previous years, according to event organizers. They believe the weather was partially to blame for the decrease, but another reason was that, for the first time, a walk was also held in Goshen.
Still, those gathered were pleased with the outcome.
“It’s an opportunity to band together and help truly needy people,” Dale Stickel, one of the walk’s organizers, said of the event. Stickel and his wife, Judy, have been involved in the event for years and keep coming back to help out.
“It’s a tangible way to express intangible feelings,” Stickel explained, saying walkers and runners show their concern for the community through their participation.
Upon finishing the race, participants were treated to popcorn, cookies and drinks and were entertained by Out of the Dust, a praise band comprised of members of Elkhart County churches.
Race-day donations reached an estimated $20,480. Twenty-five percent of the funds raised directly benefit Church Community Services and the rest of the money goes to programs offered by Church World Services.
Judy Stickel summed up the feeling of the afternoon, adding, “If God gives you a lot, you need to give back.”