Geneseo to host C.R.O.P. Walk for first time in 50 years

The Communities Responding to Overcoming Program Hunger Walk, an event which raises money and awareness for international and local hunger issues, will come to Geneseo on March 28 starting at 1 p.m. on Doty Field.

C.R.O.P. Walks are hosted around the country by Church World Service, a cooperative ministry which provides "self help and development, disaster relief and refugee assistance in some 80 countries," according to CWS's Web site. Each year, over 2 million volunteers raise over $16 million for the cause.

Though Geneseo hosted C.R.O.P. Walks years ago, this is the first time in recent memory that the college will host the event. Isaiah Tolbert, the residence director of Jones Hall, said he teamed up with Tom Matthews, director of the G.O.L.D. program, in order to create a service learning experience for first-year students.

Tolbert and the residents of Jones Hall will decide where 25 percent of the proceeds go, but have not yet reached a decision. "The students and the RAs from Jones Hall have been a huge help planning out the route of the walk and all other things concerning the walk," Tolbert said. Walkers will start at Doty Field, go through the village and return to the starting destination.

In order to get students interested in activism and the C.R.O.P. Walk, Jones hosted a workshop with Hollis Watkins on March 3. "We thought it would be a good idea to get Hollis to come in to kick off student activism." Approximately 70 students attended the session.

The workshop focused on Watkins' social activism throughout his life and his participation in the civil rights movement. Watkins is the co-founder and president of Southern Echo, Inc., a grassroots organization fostering positive social change across Mississippi. He will give a keynote lecture commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday evening.

At the workshop, Watkins spoke about protesting and mobilization, telling the audience of how he ordered a coffee and a hot dog in a "whites only" diner after which he was thrown in jail for 34 days. "I grew up in a time when fear was the order of the day," he said. "I felt changes need to be made and I needed to be a part of these changes."

Students interested in signing up for the C.R.O.P. Walk can register at or contact Tolbert at