CROP Walk leader retiring from work, but not cause
After participating in about 150 CROP Hunger Walks over his 30 years at the helm of the regional office of Church World Service, Joe Moran has retired.
From his job, that is, not CROP Walk. He’ll keep up the pace as a volunteer for Durham CROP Walk this spring on March 17.
Moran, 69, began his job in Durham in 1982, directing the Church World Service office that served the Carolinas. His jurisdiction grew to managing regional director of CWS in North and South Carolina as well as Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and much of Virginia.
In retirement, Moran and his wife, Betsy Critz, plan to stay put – their children and grandchildren live in the Triangle.
Mary Catherine Hinds, who has been associate director in the Durham CWS office for the past nine years, is the new regional director of the CWS Resource Development Program for the Southeast United States. Moran said that Hinds runs circles around him, and having such a committed work team dedicated to working on global hunger and poverty makes retiring harder.
Most of his work has been with CROP Walk, which raises money for world hunger relief, though the job also included overseeing congregational offerings like annual “Blanket Sundays” that churches hold to gather donations, most distributed internationally.
After noticing local CROP organizers were often the same folks running food pantries and urban ministries, Moran said, up to 25 percent of funds raised from CROP Walks were allowed to stay local. Now that every local CROP Walk uses the full 25 percent designated for local distribution, Moran said, it’s a sign that people recognize hunger in their own backyard. It’s not as critical as in other countries, he said, but it’s bad.
Millions of dollars have been raised through Southeastern U.S. CROP Walks during Moran’s tenure.
“We didn’t end world hunger,” Moran said, “but we did what we could,” following what Jesus said about “when you see something, do something about it.”
Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, has known Moran for 16 years through Church World Service. Moran has been an advocate for racial inclusiveness and involvement from all areas of the community, said Hawkins, who serves on the CWS national board and was nominated by Moran.
“Joe has built the Durham walk into the third largest nationally, being instrumental in rallying members of different communities to participate in the fight against world hunger and poverty,” Hawkins said. “The powerful part of his ministry has been the fact that he is personally committed to alleviating poverty. His children grew up in a home wherein their Christmas presents included a CWS gift of a goat to impoverished families. He does the same in the name of his friends to this day.”
Hawkins noted Moran’s work abroad before CWS, including years in Latin America. On a trip Moran led to Cuba for local pastors in 2003, Hawkins remembered how helpful Moran was with communication, being fluent in Spanish.
“He is very appreciative of different cultures and world views,” Hawkins said. “Personally, he is such a wonderful person,” he said, describing Moran as warm, inviting and easy to get along with. “His smile is genuine and radiates his Christian faith,” Hawkins said, and considers Moran not just a colleague in community service, but also a friend.
Moran said his dad didn’t like his day job, but did it to support a big family. Instead, Moran’s father found meaningful service outside of work in the community. Moran said he’s fortunate to have had his career at CWS with a dedicated staff.
“I felt this job was where I was supposed to be,” Moran said.