Anita Hagspiel of Northborough, MA was raised in a household where she was taught to waste-not, want-not. For her mother, growing up on a farm meant money was tight, and the family often had to choose between necessities. She instilled a deep caring and respect for people who don't have enough food, in her daughter, Anita. Her mother would serve her a delicious home-cooked meal and insist she would clean her plate, that there were other people who were going without. This sentiment resonated with Anita throughout her life and first led her to participate in the Walk for Hunger in 1986.
Over 29 years as a walker, Anita has demonstrated a tremendous dedication to helping her neighbors in communities across the state. During the early 1990s, Anita introduced the Walk to her company, National Grid plc (formerly New England Electric Systems). John Rondeau, National Grid plc team leader, was inspired by Anita’s dedication and rallied his team to participate in the Walk. The team has raised over $50,000 since they first starting walking together, and Anita remains a member of the team despite her retirement from the company.
Even now splitting her time between Massachusetts and Florida since her retirement, Anita’s commitment to helping others and ensuring everyone has access to healthy food remains steadfast. On years when she can not make it to Boston she is a dedicated Virtual Walker, walking all 20 miles, only on a sandy beach with palm trees and a tropical breeze.
Anita has had many wonderful memories with the Walk over the years, expecially with the Walk falling right around her May 2nd birthday. One birthday in particular stood out to Anita. “It was the year I turned 50,” Anita recalls. “I had friends staying over and they greeted me at the Boston Common by surprise and gave me a gold bracelet!”
This year’s Walk will be especially special to Anita. She explains, “There have been many adventures over the years and I have met some wonderful people. Each year, I always have fun trying to beat my time of 6 hours and encourage folks to increase the amount they pledge if I beat my time. I am flying home early from Florida to be able to do my 30th Walk this year in Boston.”