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Hilltown Voices: Williamsburg church raises most money at annual CROP walk

About 60 walkers from nine Hilltown churches laced up their walking shoes and hit the streets of Huntington in an annual event held to support local and global efforts to eradicate hunger.

Sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations, the Hilltown CROP Walk was one of 31 walks to end hunger that took place across the commonwealth last Saturday.

The CROP Walk is an annual event in the Hilltowns. This year Chester, Chesterfield, Easthampton, Huntington, Southampton, Westhampton, Worthington and Williamsburg participated in the event, raising a total of $11,000.

Nancy Webb, chairwoman of the Huntington Congregational Church Mission Committee, said that at the end of the event, organizers awarded Williamsburg Congregational Church the Golden Sneaker Award for having raised $3,279, the greatest amount of any participating town.

“I was pleasantly surprised with the money raised,” Webb said. “It is not uncommon for donations to come in for the next three months so in the end, that total could be much higher,” she said.

Twenty-five percent of the money raised goes to fight local hunger and the rest goes to fight hunger and poverty around the world.

“We donated the 25 percent to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts,” Webb said.

Each year a different church organizes and hosts the event. Walkers collect pledges of donations prior to the walk, and donations may also be made to the organization at any time.

This year’s walk had four routes to appeal to different walking abilities. Each route was about 1.5 miles.

After the walk, participants gathered for lunch provided by the Huntington Congregational Church.

“We are a small church with a small congregation, but everybody really helped out,” Webb said.

Webb said that CROP Walk organizers also received help from local businesses.

“Outlook Farm donated apples to go with the water stops along the way, and Gino’s Pizzeria donated a large party sized pizza for the walkers.

When CROP began in 1947, it was an acronym for the Christian Rural Overseas Program and the primary mission was to help Midwest farm families share their grain with hungry neighbors in post-World War II Europe and Asia.

Today, Church World Service has outgrown the acronym but retains the historic name of the program. CROP Hunger Walks today are interfaith hunger education and fundraising events sponsored by Church World Service and organized by CWS local offices across the U.S.

More than 2,000 communities across the U.S. participate in over 1,600 CROP Hunger Walks each year.

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Day of the dead

For the past 15 years Meekins Library has provided a traditional Day of the Dead altar and invited the community to come in to remember friends family members and pets that have died.

The Meekins celebration makes no reference to religion, and is taken from the ancient cultural heritage of Mexico and other Latin American countries.

Everyone is welcome to bring mementos and photographs of loved ones to place on the altar.

On Thursday, to celebrate Halloween and the Day of the Dead, all are invited to the library to share bread, hot chocolate and other treats. Festivities will begin after the annual Williamsburg children’s Halloween parade.

For more information contact Lisa Wenner at 268-7472.

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Chesterfield land auction

Chesterfield is planning a land auction Monday, Nov. 4.

According to Town Administrator Sue Labrie, the land to be auctioned is roughly 0.49 acres on Farmhouse Road by Damon Pond.

“The land was originally owned by two different people, but it is being auction off as one parcel,” Labrie said.

According to Labrie, the original owners, Patricia Munro and Joan Archambault, have not lived on the properties for years. Both parcels had been taken by the town due to the owners’ failure to pay taxes on their property. Labrie said that the Archambault property was taken in December of 1985 and the Munro property was taken in April of 1993.

Labrie said that it is hard to tell if the auction will be highly competitive.

“I have already had two people come in to inquire about the land and the auction, so we will see how it all goes on the fourth,” she said.

The auction will take place at 7 p.m. in the Select Board office at the Davenport Building on Main Street.

Items for this weekly column about Hilltown life can be sent to fryan.gazette@gmail.com.

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