James McDonald, President of SFTS, leads Marin CROP Walk to raise hunger awareness

Rev. Dr. James McDonald, president of San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS), will lead 30 Marin County churches and organizations for the 17th annual Marin Crop Walk On Sunday, April 21, in San Rafael.  The annual walk seeks to raise awareness of hunger related issues throughout the world.

The “CROP Walk,” which stands for “Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty,” is organized by Church World Service, a well-respected international aid and development organization.  Every year, the CROP Walk is held in cities and communities around the world to raise funding and awareness to fight global hunger issues. In Marin County, the CROP Walk has been held annually since 1996, and is one of 11 hunger walks taking place in the Bay Area on April 20-21.

This marks McDonald’s second year of serving as the honorary walk leader for the Marin CROP Hunger Walk.  He will lead walkers through the streets of San Rafael, which typically draws sizeable participation of individuals and families who are walking in support this important cause.

Leslie Purdy, the coordinator for the Marin CROP Walk, said McDonald is an ideal leader because of his extensive background in working on hunger issues through his involvement with Bread for the World, an organization that fights on behalf of hungry people nationally and abroad.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to serve once again as honorary walk leader for the Marin CROP walk,” said McDonald. “When you consider that tens of thousands of people die every day from preventable diseases, more than half of them related to hunger, it creates a clarity of vision that we must do all that we can to dismantle the path of poverty and hunger and establish a path that avails resources and opportunities to feed and sustain all people. The Gospel of Jesus Christ begins within each one of us, with our compassion toward one another and toward the world. And as the Bible tells us in the story from Mark, compassion moved Jesus to ensure that the multitudes had something to eat.  So too, must we be in our compassion and our joined efforts to feed and nourish the hungry in our communities and our world.”

Last year, the Marin Crop Walk raised more than $7,000, with a portion of the proceeds going to support people served by the Marin Community Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy.  Benefitting organizations this year include will also include the San Rafael Street Chaplaincy.  Organizers hope to surpass last year’s fundraising efforts, and have raised almost $3,000 so far.

McDonald will be joined on the Marin CROP walk by SFTS students, faculty, and seminary community members who have formed a seminary team to help with the fundraising effort.  Last year, many students from SFTS assumed leadership roles in the Marin CROP Walk as they led their local congregations to participate and fundraise for the event.

The Marin Crop Walk will begin at First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael, 1510 Fifth Avenue. Registration will open at 1:30 p.m. The 3-mile stroll through downtown San Rafael starts at 2 p.m and generally takes about 60-90 minutes to complete.

Local sponsors of this year’s walk include SFTS, Reid and Axelrod Law Firm, Crawford Law Firm, Feinstein Foundation, Christ Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael, Marin Interfaith Council, Minuteman Press, San Geronimo Presbyterian Church, Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo, and the First Congregational Church of San Rafael. 

For more information about the Marin CROP Hunger Walk, contact Leslie Purdy at 415-234-6515 or go to www.bayareahungerwalk.org