43,000 People Show Commitment to Feed Hungry Families in Massachusetts

With the need greater than ever, Project Bread's Walk for Hunger reaches goal of $3.6 million

Boston, MA (May 6, 2012)  At Project Bread’s 44th annual Walk for Hunger, Mayor Thomas M. Menino welcomed an estimated 41,000 Walkers and 2,000 Volunteers to the Boston Common who raised millions for a wide range of community hunger relief programs across the state.

Despite a rainy week, the sun broke through to shine on more than 1,000 religious and community organizations, 1,200 corporate teams, 1,200 school teams, and 700 friends and family groups who participated in the 20-mile Walk. Organizers were delighted that at this one-day event, which requires no minimum donation, participants raised an estimated $3.6 million.

The funds donated will be granted back to 450 community programs that include emergency food providers, schools, summer food programs, community health centers, farmers’ markets, community suppers, and home care organizations, among others.  This wide range of programs reflects Project Bread’s broad and innovative approach to antihunger work.

“We’re all heartened that our economy is showing signs of recovery,” said Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread, “but we know that over 700,000 people in Massachusetts struggle to put food on the table. For families, it’s particularly difficult. That’s why we’re providing as much support as possible to community organizations that provide food for children – for example, we’re supporting preschools, schools, afterschool programs, as well as summer food programs. When a family gets predictable and good quality meals for their children every school day, they save money, which can then be put toward a healthy dinner at night.”

Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline, the only comprehensive hunger resource in Massachusetts, connects a hungry person to emergency food in his or her neighborhood and receives approximately 46,000 calls a year.

In its 44 years, The Walk for Hunger has demonstrated extraordinary staying power. It’s the largest and oldest one-day walk-a-thon for hunger in the country, starting in 1969 with 2,000 Walkers who raised $26,000 for two emergency food programs. During the past 44 years, more than a million participants have raised nearly $85 million to help hungry people in Massachusetts.

Organizers attribute its enduring strength to the use of online fundraising tools, which allow supporters to bring in donations from every state in the union as well as a dozen foreign countries. The Facebook app, which was new last year, brought in over $80,000 for hungry people. The virtual Walker feature, which includes more than 180 fundraisers, who’ve raised $10,000 this year, allows participants who will be out of the country or unable to attend to continue fundraising for people in the Commonwealth.

“We can say that we’ve kept up with the technology,” continued Parker, “but the fact is that this Walk is a beloved tradition, and if we didn’t organize it, the Walkers would come anyway.”

Hall of Fame corporate supporters, including those who’ve supported the Walk for over 15 years,  include the families of Raytheon for 30 years, WHDH-TV for 27 years, KISS 108 for 24 years, JAM’N 94.5 for 17 years, and the MBTA which has provided free rides the morning of the Walk for 19  years. To participate, go to www.projectbread.org.

About Project Bread
As the state’s leading anti-hunger organization, Project Bread is dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts. Through The Walk for Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the country, Project Bread provides millions of dollars each year in privately donated funds to support hunger relief through over 450 emergency programs, schools, summer food programs, community health centers, farmers’ markets, community suppers, home care organizations, and other programs that protect the individual and strengthen our community food security. The Walk’s flagship sponsor is Freihofer’s Baking Company; its participating sponsors include Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, and Raytheon Company. For more information visit www.projectbread.org, www.facebook.com/projectbread, or www.twitter.com/walkforhunger.

 

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