Westwood's Temple Beth David to host their annual fundraiser for Project Bread and local food pantries.
This article was originally published on the Westwood Patch website
On September 23, Temple Beth David of Westwood will host an Interfaith Mini Walk for Hunger. This Mini Walk for Hunger, like its bigger relative in May, will benefit Massachusetts' anti-hunger charity Project Bread. If an person or family wishes to join the Walk, they can register at this page and bring an item for their local food pantry.
"The Walk began as a bar mitzvah project of a student at Temple Beth David many years ago. The biggest change it has experienced since that time is becoming an interfaith activity. For the past five or six years we have been working with churches as well as more recently the Islamic Center of New England to demonstrate how the joining of many faiths to accomplish our goal demonstrates our strength together," says one of the Walk organizers, Dr. Jeff Greenwald (In fact, Patch covered the Interfaith Mini Walk For Hunger in 2012). He also lists St. Timothy's, [St. Denis], and First Parish Church of Westwood, although throughout our conversation it was reiterated by Dr. Greenwald that one need not belong to a faith organization to participate in the Walk and raise money for Project Bread. Greenwald is a Walk organizer alongside Connie Rizoli (who serves on the Temple's inclusion committee) and Mary Ellen Herx (Director of Faith Formation, Youth & Young Adults Gr. 7-12 at St. Timothy's).
"Walkers of all ages are encouraged. We have had walkers as young as infants who come in strollers to people in their 70s and 80s participate. You do not need to have children to participate in this Walk. We do make it about 3 miles so most people can accomplish the distance," notes Greenwald, "We will have some fun gift cards to various kid and adult oriented restaurants and stores."
The Interfaith Mini Walk For Hunger requests that walkers being an item for their local food pantry, be it non-perishable goods, toiletries, or hygiene items. Given that many towns take part in this event, including Westwood, Needham, Wellesley, Sharon, Canton, Norwood, and Dedham, I asked Greenwald if walkers' donations were given to their town's respective food pantries. "In years past we have tried very hard to break up the donations by the donors' location of residence such that Westwood residents' donations go to the Westwood food pantry, Norwood's donations go to the Norwood food pantry, etc. More recently, we have found that most people are very happy as long as the donations go to anyone in need and have therefore tried to consolidate the locations of the donations. This year, most of the donations will go to Westwood, Norwood, and Sharon (area) food pantries, representing the majority of our walkers," he responded.
When asked about the fall date, Greenwald stated "Scheduling this event is never easy. May is difficult because it is often the end of the school year and there are a lot of conflicting events including the main Walk for Hunger. Obviously the early fall can pose similar complexities in [people's] lives and schedules of other organizations. But, overall we have found this to be successful and have less competing events. We also like the fall foliage as a backdrop for the Walk and the trees are accommodating."
Wegmans is the Gold Sponsor of the Interfaith Mini Walk For Hunger for the second year in a row.
Joining the Interfaith Mini Walk For Hunger is as easy as signing up on Project Bread's site and bringing something for your local food pantry. It starts at 2pm at Temple Beth David (7 Clapboardtree Street, Westwood) regardless of weather. As Greenwald puts it "We walk rain or shine and you don't have to be a member of a faith organization to participate. All are welcome. Together we can help support Project Bread and our food pantries and together we can show that the interfaith community can be a source of strength when we work together to fight hunger. It is particularly important, given the current political climate, to show that people are more alike than they are different, that the diversity that does exist is strengthening, and that we are committed to helping our neighbors achieve the food security they deserve."
Can't make it to the Mini Walk? You can still make a donation!
Author(s): Heather T. Ford, Westwood Patch