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CROP Walk is one thing people can do to help alleviate hunger

Because he believes that if everyone does a small part, people’s lives can improve locally and globally, Randy Goss has participated in CROP Hunger Walks in Spokane for 15 years and is now chair of the planning committee.

Randy Goss, CWS
Randy Goss gears up for the 2014 CROP Hunger Walk.

Spokane’s 2014 CROP Hunger Walk begins with registration at noon, Sunday, April 27, at The Lair at Spokane Community College, 1810 N. Greene St.  The walk, which begins at 1:30 p.m., crosses the Greene St. Bridge, follows the Centennial Trail to Mission Park and returns.

“In the U.S., walking is about pleasure, but in other parts of the world, it’s a matter of life and death,” Randy said.  “The walk is an opportunity to reflect on how easy we have it.  If we are hungry, we go to the refrigerator for food.  If we are thirsty, we turn on a water faucet.

“Our goal is to build awareness and a sense of community with other people,” he said.

The idea for the CROP Walk started after World War II when farmers sent grain to Europe.  Originally “CROP” was an acronym for “Christian Rural Overseas Program.”  Today, “CROP” is the name of the program, not an acronym.

Since the Spokane CROP Hunger Walk started in 1979, walks have raised more than $400,000. Randy reported.  It’s the oldest CROP Hunger Walk in the Pacific Northwest.

In some communities, more than 500 people walk.  That many once participated in Spokane.

Five years ago was the best walk in the years Randy has been involved.  It raised $33,000. 

In recent years, the CROP Hunger Walk has had fewer participants as some churches that were traditionally involved have become smaller and closed, he said.  Some supporters now come as individuals.  They make donations and walk.

“Some people come every year,” Randy said.

This is the third year at The Lair at Spokane Community College.  Last year the walk raised more than $13,000 and the previous year nearly $12,000.

Randy said that doing the CROP Walk is a way “to show solidarity with brothers and sisters around the world who walk every day for food, wood and water.  Mostly it’s women and girls who walk about five miles two or three times a day to get water.”

With funds, Church World Service develops community wells to provide drinking water and provides livestock, so girls can go to school and improve their lives, he said.

Funds also fight hunger in the United States.

“Have you ever gone to bed hungry?  Have you ever kissed your children goodnight to have them sleep in the back seat of your car?” he asked. 

“The local needs are great.  There is so much to do in our back yards,” said Randy, who also volunteers at the Mead Food Bank and the New Hope Resource Center.

In addition, he donates leftover building materials from his construction business, R.W. Goss Construction, to Habitat for Humanity Spokane.

Randy participated in two walks in Santa Rosa, Calif., near where he grew up in Sebastapol, before he moved to Spokane in 1992.  He had served four years in the Air Force at Fairchild at the end of the Vietnam War, went into construction in 1976 and earned a journeyman certificate in 1979 when the housing market in Santa Rosa declined.  Then he was a deputy sheriff with the Marin County Sheriff’s Department for eight years.  In 1991, he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, education and Native American studies at Sonoma State University.

When he first came to Spokane, he did substitute teaching while his construction and remodeling business grew. 

Randy saw an ad for the CROP Walk and soon was on the steering committee, then was co-chair with Sylvia Barney for several years.  This is his third year as chair.

Randy did not attend church until he met his wife, Janis, in 1972.  They married in 1973 and were active in a Presbyterian church in Santa Rosa, becoming ordained deacons.  When they moved to Spokane, they attended Whitworth Presbyterian, where they were deacons and among the charter members sent from that church to start Colbert Presbyterian, where he has served on building and grounds, finance and mission committees.

“I’m passionate about what CWS does globally and our keeping 25 percent of proceeds local.  This year proceeds will go to Family Promise and Greater Spokane Meals on Wheels,” two organizations he believes need added support.

The portion of funds that goes to Church World Service has helped with U.S. disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy for long-term recovery and 75 percent goes for global development.

For information, call 468-4099 or email

Copyright © April 2014 - The Fig Tree