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Wayland residents come together to fight poverty

WAYLAND — In 1967, Eldon and Pauline Wiese recognized that the community had an abundance of amenities and wanted to spread the wealth among those less fortunate. Since its beginning 52 years ago, the CROP (Communities Responding to Overcoming Poverty) program in Wayland is less than $20 away from raising $1.5 million dollars.

Traditionally, CROP is fundraised through the CROP Hunger Walk in which participants walk to raise awareness and funds to end world hunger. Wayland residents have adapted the fundraiser to be a drive where residents can donate commodities, such as corn, beans or cash to help with the cause.

CROP is sponsored by the Church World Service, a global organization that seeks to end hunger locally and globally. Larry and Mary Lou Roth have been the directors of the Wayland chapter since 2002 and have organized a group of individuals to canvass neighborhoods and help fundraise.

Seventy-five percent of the proceeds are given to the Church World Service to be distributed how they see fit and 25 percent remain in Wayland to help the local community grow as well. The local community only began receiving funds about three years ago after members of the CROP board suggested they find a way to help at home, as well. The funds go toward the summer lunch and backpack programs at WACO schools.

Director Mary Lou said reaching out and helping people is what being a good neighbor is all about. “We just know when something happens to us, people are going to help us, so in return we help each other,” she said.

Cash donations can be sent to any of the churches in Wayland or the ministerial association. Commodity donations can be designated through either of the two grain elevators in town. The grain will then be sold and the funds will be used to reach their goal of $35,000 for the calendar year of 2018. Donations will be accepted through Oct. 31.