(Boston, MA—May 8, 2017)— Project Bread, a pioneer of innovative programs and initiatives designed to eradicate hunger, yesterday held its 49th annual Walk for Hunger, the oldest continual pledge walk in the nation and largest one-day fundraiser to ease local hunger. Since 1969, the Walk for Hunger has received support from an estimated 1.2 million participants and has raised over $100 million in funding for grants statewide for emergency food programs, schools, summer food programs, community health centers, farmer’s markets, community suppers and urban agriculture programs.
With nearly 30,000 participants, the Walk is on track to raise $2.5 million; funds raised from the Walk and the 5K Run will provide critical financial support to more than 300 hunger relief programs across the state of Massachusetts.
“We have always believed that good food is a basic right for everyone,” said Ellen Parker, Project Bread’s executive director. “As the convener on this important public health issue, Project Bread continues to lead the way in Massachusetts by investing in innovative and effective programs that build food security at the community level—providing people of all ages, cultures and walks of life with sustainable, reliable access to nutritious food.”
According to Project Bread’s 2016 Status Report on Hunger, nearly 675,000 people in the Commonwealth lack reliable access to good food. For nearly five decades, the annual Walk for Hunger has been a community movement of neighbors helping neighbors.
“The work of the Walk doesn’t end because thousands of our supporters crossed the finish line yesterday,” Parker said. “We continually fund emergency food services for our neighbors who need to put food on the table, or who need to find a hot meal in their community. For children, we meet them where they learn and grow, when school is in session and during the summer months. The Walk for Hunger is the keystone in unifying our efforts to end hunger in Massachusetts and without the committed fundraising efforts of our friends and families, we wouldn’t be able to do this significant work.”
Walk for Hunger Partners and Sponsors
In addition to the fundraising of dedicated Walkers over the past 49 years, Project Bread relies on the financial commitment of its partners and sponsors. “With the continued support of our philanthropic partners, Project Bread is able to focus its efforts on the root cause of hunger in Massachusetts,” said Carrie Privette, Project Bread’s director of development. “We are extremely fortunate to have strong relationships with companies that incorporate social good into the way they do business.”
Bimbo Bakeries USA and its family of brands have contributed more than $1 million in sponsorship, employee fundraising and corporate matching gifts over the past seven years as the Walk’s flagship sponsor. This year, Arnold Bread will continue this long-standing partnership on behalf of Bimbo Bakeries.
Transportation sponsor, the Arbella Insurance Foundation, celebrates its 10-year anniversary supporting the Walk for Hunger. In addition to their financial support, Team Arbella recruited over 500 Walkers this year, securing their spot as the Walk’s largest team. “Our employees are really the heart and soul of Arbella,” said John Donohue, chairman, president and CEO of the Arbella Insurance Group and chairman of the Arbella Insurance Foundation. “Giving back is part of who we are as a company and our employees exemplify that with their generosity and dedication to charitable causes. This is our 10th year as a major sponsor of Project Bread and the Walk for Hunger and I couldn’t be prouder to have more than 540 Arbella employees, along with their family and friends, as part of Team Arbella, helping to fight hunger and help their neighbors in need.”
The Walk for Hunger has been a central cause to the Raytheon Company for 35 years. For Raytheon, supporting the Walk is a company-wide effort with nine teams formed out of their various company offices around the state. “Our employees raise money and really look forward to the Walk every spring to help Project Bread fight hunger across all of Massachusetts,” said Kristin Hilf, vice president of communications at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems Business. Kristin has been walking with her son Daniel for the past eleven years and views this as an opportunity to lead by example and give back to the community.
Returning as the Presenting Sponsor of the second annual Walk for Hunger 5K Run, Capital One has been the sponsor for the Heart & Sole tent since 2015, a meeting place for the elite fundraisers for Project Bread to gather prior to embarking upon their 20-mile trek.
This 49th annual installment of the Walk for Hunger was also supported by Project Bread’s media partners, including WHDH-TV Boston, with 7News chief meteorologist Jeremy Reiner, who did weather reports live from the Common and iHeart Media radio talent from stations, Kiss 108, JAM’N 94.5 and 101.7 The Bull greeted Walkers and event volunteers.
Live entertainment, snacks and activities were provided to Walk participants at the Arnold Bread Snack Stop, the halfway point of the Walk, at Arsenal Park in Watertown. The historic 20-mile Walk for Hunger route encompassed Boston’s Back Bay, Kenmore Square and Allston; Brookline; Newton (Chestnut Hill, Newton Centre, and Newton Corner); Watertown; and Cambridge before it concluded back at the Boston Common.
About Project Bread
Project Bread is the leading 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. For more information or to make a gift, visit www.ProjectBread.org/walk, www.Facebook.com/ProjectBread, or www.Twitter.com/ProjectBread.
If you or someone you know is struggling to put food on the table, please call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 800-645-8333.