SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – Project Bread, a statewide anti-hunger organization committed to ending hunger in Massachusetts, has announced the 46th annual Walk For Hunger will take place on Sunday, May 4, 2014. Registration is now open for the largest walk event in Massachusetts which raises awareness of the issues of hunger in the state as well as more than $3.5 million to support Project Bread. In last year’s Walk, 137 Shrewsbury residents took part and raised $13,321. Among those taking part this year is an inspiring young girl named Kiira Maloney. She’s 8 years old and has been participating in The Walk her entire life (her parents first brought her along when she was two months old). This year, she’s asked everyone who wanted to give her a birthday present to donate to her Walk instead.
According to the 2013 Status Report on Hunger released by Project Bread in November, more than 700,000 people in Massachusetts aren’t sure where their next meal will come—a number almost 40% higher than it was prior to the recession and almost 80% higher than it was at the beginning of the last decade. In fact, 16.5% of Massachusetts children live in food-insecure households.
“Even as the economic situation appears to improve, we see that hunger continues to be an issue for many families across the state,” said Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread. “At Project Bread, we continue to work to ensure that every family has access to the healthy, nutritious food they need. Every dollar raised through the Walk for Hunger helps us do that and much more.”
Since 1969, Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger has raised much-needed funds for anti-hunger programs as well as served to elevate the face of hunger in Massachusetts. Funds raised help support local food pantries, community-based meal programs, early childhood and school nutrition initiatives, and improve access to farm-to-table resources.
“We know that hunger is a complex problem,” continued Parker. “It’s important to recognize that there are multiple solutions to address both emergency food situations and long-term access to healthy alternatives. People struggling with hunger don’t necessarily want a handout – they want to be a participant in finding the solution.”
The 20-mile walk begins and ends at the Boston Common. The walk route weaves through Boston, Brookline, Newton, Watertown, and Cambridge. Local entertainment and water stops help keep the walkers going throughout the day and educational elements will help walkers learn more about food insecurity and the range of anti-hunger solutions.
More than 40,000 people are expected to turn out for this year’s event, walking to raise money and awareness about the issues of hunger across the state. “I walk because it brings awareness to the serious problem of hunger in Massachusetts and in the country,” said Monica Bracey of Mattapan, a walker since 1990 who raises approximately $10,000 each year.
Registration is now open and individuals can walk, volunteer, and donate at www.projectbread.org/walk. More information is also available by calling 617-723-5000.
If you or someone you know is struggling to put food on the table, please call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.
About Project Bread
Project Bread is the only statewide anti-hunger organization committed to providing people of all ages, cultures, and walks of life with sustainable, reliable access to nutritious food. From community-based meal programs, to early childhood and school nutrition initiatives, to improved access to farm-to-table resources, Project Bread approaches hunger as a complex problem with multiple solutions. With funds raised through The Walk for Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the country, and other sources, Project Bread pioneers innovative initiatives and supports effective programs to eradicate hunger in our state. The Walk’s flagship sponsor is Freihofer’s Baking Company; its participating sponsors include Arbella Insurance Foundation and Raytheon Company. For more information, visit www.projectbread.org, www.facebook.com/projectbread, or www.twitter.com/walkforhunger.
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has seen a lot of cuts over the past year – $8 billion over 10 years in the Farm Bill, $5 billion cut in 2014 alone after the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ended. Now, House Budget Committee Chairman Ron Paul is pushing hard for even more, major cuts in his latest budget proposal. Hunger people need alternative solutions.
- In 2012, 14.5% of American households were food insecure. That means 49 million people (including 15.9 million children) did not know where their next meal was coming from.
- In Massachusetts alone, 700,000 people are food insecure. That’s almost 40% more people than before the recession began and almost 80% more than the start of the last decade. The problem is getting worse, not just in Massachusetts, but across the country.
- 40,000 walkers and 2,000 will come together on May 4th with two goals: raise money to fight hunger and raise awareness about the issue.
- This year’s goal is to raise $3.5 million.
- This is the 46th annual Walk for Hunger, which is the oldest continual pledge walk in the country.
- There is no fundraising minimum for this walk. Some people raise $10. Some raise $10,000+. The Walk for Hunger is about a community coming together with every dollar making a difference.
- Every single walker and volunteer has a reason for why they take part. Some are general. Many are very personal, like the team of homeless walkers from a local church. And so many are heartwarming, like the young girl who asked for donations to The Walk instead of birthday presents this year. You can find a few of these stories here.
- Project Bread has two driving, fundamental beliefs: one is that the opposite of hungry is not simply full, but healthy; the other is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to hunger.
- To that end, The Walk for Hunger provides funding for a wide range of hunger solutions:
- Chefs in Head Start Program, which teaches very young children life-long healthy eating habits and works with the kids and their parents to offer cooking lessons and healthy lunches for Head Start children.
- Chefs in Schools Initiative, which places professional chefs in low-income school districts to teach staff techniques that improve taste and presentation of school food, while also making it healthier
- Child Nutrition Outreach Program, which aims to increase participation in summer meal programs and breakfast programs
- Mass Farm to School, which connects farmers directly to schools and hospitals so they can serve fresh, locally-produced food
- Double-value SNAP coupons, which allow people on SNAP benefits to double their purchases of fresh produce
- Community Supported Agriculture Programs, which connect low-income individuals to farm shares
- Emergency food pantries and soup kitchens
- FoodResource Hotline, which connects food insecure people with public resources and local help specific to their situation