BY Mark Kennedy
SOUTH HERO -- More than 50 people of all ages participated in the fifth Champlain Islands CROP Hunger Walk, raising nearly $5,400 toward this year’s goal of $7,500, all contributions carefully counted and tracked by Lee English, Susanna Jaeger, and Kari Banas.
Bagpiper Joe Pobieglo led Walkers from the Congregational Church of South Hero (CCSH) last Sunday, Oct. 21, along South Street to Route 2 and back toward Hackett’s Orchard through spitting snow and blustery wind, with Carol and Dick Ernst in the warm CIDER sag wagon for any who needed a break along the way. Neither wind nor snow deterred most of the Walkers from enjoying lively conversation or frolicking in the leaves while making their way to Hackett’s Orchard and back to CCSH for Hackett’s apples, cider, and cider donuts.
Piper Joe happily surprised everyone by meeting the Walkers at Hackett’s Orchard, where Ron Hackett welcomed all and led the group to a leeward side of the Orchard where he described some of the 118 year history of the Orchard and his, Celia’s, and their family’s more than 50 years as its stewards. In the midst of trees spanning the Orchard’s entire history, including one of the original trees, Ron answered questions and discussed his family’s commitment to sharing the Orchards bounty. The Orchard annually contributes thousands of pounds of apples to the Vermont Food Bank and various Island organizations, as well as space, refrigeration, and other support for Food For Thought, the Island’s food and literacy program, sponsored by CCSH during long summer and sometimes winter school breaks and available to families whose children receive subsidized lunch during the school year.
Thank you to everyone who supported this year’s Walk by publicizing, contributing, or walking. Contributors to this year’s Walk to date include dozens of individuals and families as well as many local Island businesses.
Additional contributions are needed to reach this year’s $7,500 goal and continue to be received on line (Crophungerwalk.org, Champlain Islands CROP Hunger Walk) or through the CCSH office, 24 South St., South Hero, VT 05486, checks payable to CWS/CROP. Contributions support local, national, and international short and long-term needs for food and clean water: 25% of the total raised remains in the Champlain Islands, shared evenly by Food For Thought and the Grand Isle County Food Shelf, located at the Grand Isle United Methodist Church; 75% of the total provides food and clean water following disasters, such as this year’s hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis, as well as long term through seeds, tools, training, and wells.