Rumson Country Day School eighth grader Callie Crowell credits a long-standing family tradition as inspiration for her commitment to community service. The Red Bank Crop Hunger Walk is an event that the Crowell family has participated in for more than 40 years, and Callie was recruited to join far before she could actually walk.
“My mom did the Crop Walk when she was pregnant with me,” explained 13-year-old Callie. “So, I guess you could say that was technically my first time.”
Callie has participated in the Crop Walk to fight hunger ever since.
“My grandma was a very generous person, and she especially loved the Crop Walk,” said Callie. “After her passing, my mom wanted to continue the tradition of doing the Crop Walk together so it’s important to me and my family.”
Callie’s mother, Jennifer Crowell, RCDS alumna ’88, added, “Our family walks to support the Crop Walk’s crucial mission to end hunger, but also to honor my mom’s legacy.”
As a student at RCDS, Callie was pleased to learn that the school also prioritizes community service and makes a huge effort to benefit the Crop Walk each year. Historically, one of the largest rice and beans donors, the RCDS community was proud to contribute 2,052 pounds to the total 12,000 pounds of food collected for this year’s annual Crop Walk.
Callie joined the RCDS community in donating as much rice and beans as she could carry. She also raised just shy of $1,000 to benefit local hunger-fighting partners in Monmouth County with many of the donations coming from RCDS alumni and past parents who continue to value the importance of the Crop Walk. On Oct. 15, she volunteered alongside her classmates to load and transport the hefty haul of food to Red Bank Regional High School, where the total was weighed and sorted for local food pantries.
“Service, it’s very important to me personally,” said Callie. “Knowing there are people out in the world that are struggling and some that have advantages over others … It makes me feel really upset just thinking about it right now. I want to be able to make a change to help those people, to make the world a better place.”
Callie’s commitment to helping others was proudly on display that day as she and her family continued their tradition and walked several miles to raise awareness of the global food crisis. She doesn’t plan on stopping there. In her free time, Callie volunteers with the SPCA and Clean Ocean Action. She is also a member of the RCDS Student Service Learning Council, which spreads the word about the school’s service initiatives and recruits others to get involved. On the tail of Crop Walk, they plan to collect leftover Halloween candy to donate to Holiday Express. They are also working alongside World of Change, a nonprofit organization founded by an RCDS alumnus that educates youth about the importance of philanthropy and provides essentials to families in need through the collection of spare change.
Callie hopes to find a secondary school that shares her passion for service so that she can continue her involvement after she graduates. Meanwhile, RCDS will continue to provide opportunities throughout the 2023-24 school year for its community to give back.