Special to the Sun
On Sunday, May 7, Project Bread hosted the nonprofit’s 55th Walk for Hunger, held for the first time in-person since 2019. More than 4,000 participants set out to raise more than $1 million to fight hunger in Massachusetts. Walking the Boston Common or in their hometowns across the Commonwealth. The event hasn’t hit the $1 million goal yet, however fundraising will continue through the summer for most participants.
“It is incredible how thousands of people –of all ages and backgrounds –come together and take action to end hunger,” says Erin McAleer, CEO at Project Bread, the statewide anti-hunger nonprofit. “The fundraising effort of our walkers ensures people here in Massachusetts can get food with dignity. Every dollar participants raise for The Walk for Hunger improves lives across the state. Project Bread relies on the strength of our walkers as both fundraisers and advocates to do this critical work.”
True to its grassroots beginnings, the nation’s oldest community pledge walk unites community partners, business leaders, walkers, volunteers, public officials, media, and residents of all backgrounds together for a cause. Money raised through the annual event is funding Project Bread’s urgent mission to ensure kids have reliable access to food, to directly help individuals and families, and to advocate at the state and federal levels for expedited and efficient relief for those in need. Walk funds are also supporting community organizations that are helping people access food locally and ensuring communities have the resources necessary to respond to the hunger crisis now and over the long road to recovery ahead.
For the fifth consecutive year, partner organizations participated in The Walk for Hunger’s Commonwealth program to raise funds directly for their own anti-hunger programs, while also furthering Project Bread’s statewide effort. This year 34 nonprofits participated in The Commonwealth, raising more than $116,400 and counting.
During the event, Project Bread’s most distinguished award, the Patrick Hughes Award for Social Justice was presented to anti-hunger youth champion Addario Miranda, 16, of Lowell, a sophomore in high school and a steadfast advocate to make free schools for all a resource that is permanently available in Massachusetts. The award recognizes an individual with an unyielding commitment to driving meaningful change by addressing the causes of hunger, thus carrying forward the spirit of the event’s founder, Patrick Hughes.
Historically, Project Bread has hosted a 20-mile Walk for Hunger, passing through 5 towns. This year’s event followed a new 3-mile route around Boston Common. There was something for everyone as participants engaged in family-friendly activities, live music, giveaways and raffle prizes, lawn games, and a Kid’s Zone complete with balloon animals and face painting. Project Bread’s Chef Educator Sherry Hughes showed participants how to make Adobo Chicken with Corn and Cucumber Salad, a recipe developed by Project Bread Chefs to ensure school meals are healthy and delicious.
“1 in 5 families with children is struggling without enough to eat,” says Erin McAleer, Project Bread CEO. “The Walk for Hunger and the money it raises are vital as resources available during the pandemic continue to be peeled back. This includes free school meals, expanded SNAP benefit amounts, an increased number of Summer Eats meal sites and more. Donating to the Walk, and raising money, is something tangible all of us can do to make sure our neighbors in need can get the food to meet their most basic of needs.”