BOSTON – On Sunday, Project Bread hosted the nonprofit’s 52nd annual Walk for Hunger, the first virtual one, to raise funds to support the leading statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts’ COVID-19 hunger relief efforts and community partners. More than 1,600 virtual participants hit the pavement in their neighborhoods and rallied supporters online to raise $895,000 for the cause. Fundraising for the event will continue through June 30.
Historically, the Walk for Hunger, the nation’s oldest continual pledge walk, takes place the first Sunday of May on the Boston Common. However, in mid-March Project Bread announced the one-day fundraising event would transform into a virtual fundraiser. The change did not sway participants. Individual walkers and teams found new ways to raise funds, sewing and selling face masks, doing family challenges, writing songs and walking their own routes to raise awareness and funds to ensure the nonprofit can continue to meet the growing need as we continue to navigate the socioeconomic impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Money raised through the Walk is funding Project Bread’s urgent hunger-relief response work to ensure kids have reliable access to food, directly help individuals and families who are in need, and advocating 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 access food during the crisis and grants to make sure communities have the resources necessary to respond to the hunger crisis being caused by COVID-19.
“The Walk for Hunger is a tradition in Massachusetts because of the strength and passion of the Walk community,” says Erin McAleer, President of Project Bread. “When we transformed the event into a virtual fundraiser, we were counting on the dedication our walkers are known for and they did not disappoint! It is inspiring to see walkers out in their own neighborhoods, walking and running in Walk t-shirts from past events, posting photos and videos of their efforts along the way. It speaks to the potential we have as a community working together to drive change and that is a message that resonates with everyone.”
The event included Facebook Live check-ins throughout the day with McAleer, Senator Markey kicking off his walk by interviewing top Walk fundraiser Saadia Ali on Facebook as he did his own distance walk, and lots of encouragement and inspiration across social media from dedicated walkers, volunteers, Project Bread staff, team captains and elected officials. Families with kids, individuals with dogs, and teams of corporate employees who haven’t seen each other since early March, all found creative ways to infuse feelings of unity and connectedness into the day virtually, on social media.
“I was so surprised at how much the spirit of the Walk came through in all the online stuff,” said Beth, a longtime participant who walked around her neighborhood on the south shore. “I started out kind of down. It’s just such a special day. At the end of the day though, I was inspired and hopeful. People were finding ways to help out. The roots of the Walk and everything it stands for are deep. I guess that’s what happens after 50 years!” she added.
It’s not too late to join Project Bread in the fight against hunger! To support those in need, register and fundraise as a virtual walker through June 30th, or make a donation at projectbread.org/walk
About Project Bread:
Project Bread is the leading statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts. Beginning in 1969 with the first Walk for Hunger, the nonprofit focuses on driving systemic change to ensure people of all ages have reliable access to healthy food. Project Bread works collaboratively across sectors to create innovative solutions to end hunger and improve lives across the Commonwealth. For more information, visit: www.projectbread.org.
Author(s): Project Bread