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CROP walk fundraising includes water balloon firing squad

For the third year running, one team of participants from Christ Lutheran Church (Somerset) in a charity fundraiser walk will face creative consequences for not raising the most money.

In order to support the regional CROP Hunger Walk, Christ Lutheran Church has, for the past two years, divided its participants into two teams. One is led by Scott Wells and the other is led by Jon Tulman.

Rev. Kathy Tulman, pastor of Christ Lutheran, said Christ Lutheran Church has been participating in the CROP walks for many years, but the first year the friendly competition was held, Christ Lutheran pulled in more than double the amount of fundraising dollars they had the previous year.

"I thought that if we made it fun and enjoyable," said Rev. Kathy Tulman, "It might be easier for people to put money toward it."

Jon Tulman's team won the competition in 2010 and Wells's team won in 2011.

This year, Kathy Tulman said the two teams are hoping to break the tie for the final round of competition.

Wells said one of his personal goals is to increase awareness of global hunger and local hunger needs.

"We ask people to join us for the CROP walk on Oct. 7 if they can and support us in donations," Wells said. "We try to make it fun for everyone through a friendly competition."

CROP Walks are sponsored by Church World Service and organized by local congregations or groups in order to raise money to combat hunger "at home and around the world", according to the CROP Hunger Walk web page on

According to the site, when the walks began in 1947, CROP originally was an acronym for the Christian Rural Overseas Program, whose goal was to get Midwest farm families to share their food with Europe and Asia after World War II.

Twenty-five percent of funds raised through CROP Walks go back to hunger-fighting organizations in the local community. According to the site, the rest of the money goes to combat worldwide hunger through Church World Service.

"People are hungry and sometimes are not sure where their next meal will come from," Wells said. "We all need a safe, affordable, sustainable and nutritious food supply and the CROP walk is one way for many people to work together to support that."

This year, Jon Tulman said the goal is to raise $2,000 between the two Christ Lutheran teams participating in the walk.

For losing in 2010, Scott Wells's team had to have their hair dyed pink. For losing in 2011, Jon Tulman said he got a pie in the face.

"I got to choose the flavor, banana cream," Tulman said.

This year, the punishment will be a water balloon firing squad for the losing team. Jon Tulman said he is optimistic about his chances this year. Wells said he would definitely like to win.

"I really don't want to be blasted with water balloons this year," said Wells.

Still, both agreed that the real issue is hunger.

"Since we start the walk together with others from St. Croix County who also are concerned about hunger needs," Wells said, "it is a feeling that we are part of something bigger than ourselves."

The 2012 St. Croix County/Roberts CROP Hunger Walk, in which Christ Lutheran Church will be participating, will be held on Oct. 7, starting at Roberts Congregational United Church of Christ, which is also participating in the CROP Hunger Walk.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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