Each year, we meet an outstanding group of Heart & Sole Walkers who deserve some time in the spotlight because of their dedication and determination. We are proud of all of our Heart and Sole Walkers, and are happy to introduce these stars!
To nominate someone you know as a featured Walker please contact Ryan Schrier.
(Click their names for full bios)
Jamie Yadoff has been leading a team of Walkers from the John Pierce Middle School in Brookline since 2006. Since becoming the Team Leader, her 307 students have raised over $100,000 — a truly inspiring amount of money!
Each year, Rafi’s combination of appealing to people’s belief in the cause, and their belief in him, leads to the support of over 100 donors! As Rafi puts it so well, “I felt as if those 100 people were spiritually walking with me, or thinking about me.”
His excitement comes from being able to do something to help. As he puts it, “I am capable of walking, skipping, running and other means of movement and as long as I can continue to do any of those to help those in need…I will!”
The Walk for Hunger is more than just a company event for Jenn; walking with her family provides a great opportunity to slow down and spend some time together enjoying the sights and sounds of a wonderful city...
Gabriel Yepes, of Brighton, is a Heart & Sole Walker from Colombia, who moved to the United States in 1983. Gabriel has walked for over 23 years (since 1988) and has raised an astonishing total of $415,455 for hungry people, the highest amount of any Walker in the history of the Walk for Hunger...
When Monica Matthews first heard from a work colleague about The Walk for Hunger, she started to tear up, “At the time, I had two children, ages six and eight, and I just couldn’t imagine them ever being really hungry.” That year she walked her first twenty miles for Project Bread...
Featured Walkers Hall of Fame
The Following Walkers were featured in previous Walks for Hunger.
Reading their stories is sure to put a smile on your face, and may even
inspire you to go the extra mile at this year's Walk!
(Click their names for photos and bios)
Edwin “Bud” Waite
Sister Patricia Callahan
David and Koyla Ecker
Dr. Bai Hoon Lee
Jamie Yadoff has been leading a team of Walkers from the John Pierce Middle School in Brookline since 2006. Since becoming the Team Leader, her 307 students have raised over $100,000 — a truly inspiring amount of money! We had a chance to chat with Jamie to find out how she does it.
Jamie began bringing middle school students to the Walk in 2000 when she taught at Ottoson Middle School in Arlington. Seeing the mass of Walkers every year moved her to look deeper into hunger as an issue, and how to engage young people in making a difference. She continued her work with students and the issue of hunger while teaching in Lexington, but it wasn’t until she landed at the Pierce School in Brookline that her efforts really took off. Since beginning her first Pierce School Team in 2006, Jamie has been able to convince more students to do more to end hunger in Massachusetts each year.
Working to end hunger is something that motivates the students at the Pierce School in an impressive way. Hunger is a part of the classroom discussion year-round — daily hunger facts, how the students feel before lunch, and the basic idea of fairness, all give the students talking points they can use when asking for donations. Jamie’s students really enjoy taking the discussion out into the community and enlisting the support of family and friends as they work toward their fundraising goals.
The Pierce team has a lot to teach us all. When we arm ourselves with information, appeal to the best instincts of prospective donors, and proceed with the knowledge that we have the power to make a real difference, we will meet all our fundraising goals! Here’s to the Pierce School and their impressive goal of $50,000 this year!
“When I marched in Selma, my feet were praying.”
—Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
Walk Steering Committee Member Rafi Spitzer thinks of this quote from the civil rights movement each May as he leads his team on the Walk. As he looks at the world, Rafi sees there is a gap between what the world should be and what it is right now. This idea spurs him on as he recruits members, solicits donations, and takes 40,000 steps to cover the Walk route. He and his team gather strength from the idea that the Walk is a whole community dedicated to changing things for the better. Each year, Rafi’s combination of appealing to people’s belief in the cause, and their belief in him, leads to the support of over 100 donors! As Rafi puts it so well, “I felt as if those 100 people were spiritually walking with me, or thinking about me.”
Clinton Simonds has been a member of the Walk Steering Committee since its inception. Clinton is the Team Leader for the Citizens Bank Team—one of our long-time checkpoint sponsors! His excitement comes from being able to do something to help.
As he puts it,“I am capable of walking, skipping, running and other means of movement and as long as I can continue to do any of those to help those in need…I will! I have always said that if everyone in Massachusetts could spend one hour volunteering their time per week, we would never have a shortage of volunteers.”
Clinton’s efforts have made him a celebrity of sorts at Citizens; he’s been honored for his efforts and featured in a commercial showcasing all of the great causes that he and his colleagues support.
“Project Bread’s mission fits with the mission and passions of our company and employees. It is local like us and it feels good to give back where you can see your fundraising put to good use!”
This year, Arbella Insurance Group will be celebrating their fifth year as a Walk for Hunger Sponsor, and Walk Steering Committee Member Jenn Reale will be leading the Arbella Insurance Group Walk Team for the third year in a row. Last year, Jenn organized 311 team members for the Arbella team, making sure they made it to the Common on time, received the correct T-shirt, and turned in all of their pledges. Many of us remember seeing Jenn, her husband Rich, and their adorable son Richard at the Walk last year, with Richard at the helm of his own personal ship, Arbella.
The Walk for Hunger is more than just a company event for Jenn; walking with her family provides a great opportunity to slow down and spend some time together enjoying the sights and sounds of a wonderful city. More important are the lessons that the Walk teaches her son — who’s been at the Walk since before he was born! Growing up as part of the Walk community, Richard will not only appreciate what he has, but also know how great it is to help others.
We are proud to be part of the tradition, not only with Arbella’s Walk team, but also part of the Reale family’s tradition. Look for Jenn leading the Arbella team on Walk Day and make sure to say hello!
Gabriel Yepes, of Brighton, is a Heart & Sole Walker from Colombia, who moved to the United States in 1983. Gabriel has walked for over 23 years (since 1988) and has raised an astonishing total of $415,455 for hungry people, the highest amount of any Walker in the history of the Walk for Hunger. This year, Gabriel has already raised over $25,000, which puts him on course to break his one-year fundraising record of $30,230.
Gabriel has a different approach to fundraising than most. Every March, Gabriel begins to grow out his beard to signify that the Walk for Hunger is coming. Every year, this serves as a gentle reminder to people at his workplace that he is ready to accept pledges for the Walk. Most of Gabriel’s support and pledges come from The University Club of Boston where he works, and he recognizes that there is no way he’d be as successful without their generosity. So like clockwork every March, Gabriel begins to grow out his beard. When club members see his beard, they know it’s time to start thinking about hungry people in Massachusetts, and how they can support Gabriel this year.
When Monica Matthews first heard from a work colleague about The Walk for Hunger, she started to tear up, “At the time, I had two children, ages six and eight, and I just couldn’t imagine them ever being really hungry.” That year she walked her first twenty miles for Project Bread. Since that day, Monica has logged 440 miles for her favorite organization and, in the process, gotten a lot of other people to join her.
She smiles as she recalls that first Walk. It seemed easy; she was favored with great weather and good companionship. Unfortunately, as longtime Project Bread supporters know, not all the Walks are like that. One far less salubrious Walk stands out in her memory when she almost gave up.
However, the phrase “give up” isn’t in Monica’s vocabulary. The words “give back” are . . . big time. “I enjoy giving because that’s the way I grew up . . . my mother always said, ‘You have to give back.’” As a top Heart & Sole Walker, Monica has raised a total of $49,590 since her first Walk in 1988.
She is happy to offer these tips for new Walkers. “Don’t carry too much, but be sure to bring snacks even though there are some on the way.” But more important, “be prepared for the weather. Pack extra socks, pants, and sunglasses.” She saves her best advice for those considering the spring Walk: “JUST DO IT!”
In 1985, Edwin “Bud” Waite was presented with the opportunity to be a part of The Walk for Hunger, but he doubted that he could complete the 20 miles. “I had always been active, but I hadn’t done any long walking since my days in the Army during World War II,” he recalls. Despite his reservations, Bud Waite walked that year and has been faithfully walking on behalf of the hungry of Massachusetts ever since. In fact, now at the age of 83, Bud completed his 23rd Walk for Hunger last May!
Not only has Bud been steadfast in his commitment to walking on behalf of the hungry, but he’s also been a long-time member of the Heart & Sole Circle. Bud is proud to say he has raised well over $23,000 for the hungry people of Massachusetts! He attributes his amazing contributions to “the tremendous generosity of so many from my church, my bowling league, the American Legion, to many other friends and family members I have been fortunate enough to be able to support this cause that helps so many people that might otherwise go hungry.”
While he enjoys many things about participating in the Walk, including taking his camera and creating his own photo essay of his journey, Bud confides that, “One of the greatest things about this Walk and the main reason that I am so interested and keep walking is that I know that the money I raise remains right here in Massachusetts to help support local food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the state. I hope I can continue to walk as long as possible, if even for a few miles.”
Bud, thank you for your continued outstanding support of The Walk for Hunger and for the hungry throughout Massachusetts. We applaud and appreciate your on-going enthusiasm and dedication.
David J. Chilinski of Cambridge is cofounder and president of design firm Prellwitz Chilinski Associates, Inc., and he is a Heart & Sole Walker who has supported The Walk for Hunger since the mid-1980s.
David was first introduced to the Walk through his involvement with the Paulist Center, where the Walk was founded by Patrick Hughes in 1969. He now raises thousands of dollars each year to fight hunger.
David, along with his colleague and fellow Heart & Sole Walker, Judith Salvi, attribute much of their fundraising success to the generosity of the staff at Prellwitz Chilinski, and to David’s wide range of corporate contacts and vendors. David jokes, “I let Judith chase after the staff for donations while I go off and hit up the big guys.”
And their partnership seems to work. To date, David has raised a total of $43,000 for hungry people through the Walk!
More than twenty years, nearly 500 miles, and thousands of dollars later, David says, “This is one of the best events on the planet, a truly inspiring day. That’s just one of the reasons I have returned every year.”
Sister Pat Callahan
After being a Sister of St. Anne for more than 50 years, Sister Pat Callahan truly understands the value of lending a helping hand to those in need. Participating in The Walk for Hunger for the past 17 years is one way she gives back to her local community.
Sister Pat enjoys making friends and connecting with people along the route. She fondly remembers one year when two 6th grade girls began to walk with her. After chatting for sometime, she asked them why they decided to join her. The girls replied that they just wanted to keep her company.
This, for Sister Pat, typifies the goodwill and sense of community at the Walk a place where participants are united in the spirit of helping others.
As a Heart & Sole Walker for more than a decade, Sister Pat has
raised a total of over $17,000 for hungry people in Massachusetts. She
is supported by her religious community, church, work, friends, and
family, and looks forward to the Walk every year. Besides taking long
walks around Castle Island in Dorchester, Sister Pat doesn’t worry much
about training. Once Walk Day arrives, she says, “I just get my mind
set, and go!”
(Back to the top)
Alex F. from Newton, is a seasoned veteran of The Walk for Hunger—having participated in the Walk since kindergarten! Last year, he reached a new milestone by completing the entire 20-mile route.
But Alex's commitment to helping hungry people isn't just on the first Sunday in May.
For the last few years on Alex's birthday in January, he has asked friends to donate to his Walk rather than giving him a birthday present. Foregoing presents helped Alex raise more than $1,500 last year alone.
"The reason I do the Walk every year is because people are less fortunate and they need the food. If no one does the Walk, then people wouldn’t get the food. And that would not be a good thing,” says Alex. "When I'm walking, I think about the people who don’t have what I have. It makes me want to come back each year in order to help them.”
At the age of 13, Sonya has already made a big impact in alleviating hunger in the lives of over 700 people in the State of Massachusetts. Over the last three years, the $1,800 she raised for the Walk for Hunger has given a week’s supply of groceries to 380 families.
Her love for The Walk for Hunger began in the 3rd grade, when a Project Bread staff member came to her school and discussed the dire need of those suffering from food insecurity in Massachusetts. Moved by the statistics and some coaching by her mother, Ingrid, Sonya set out to Walk on behalf of the hungry.
Many of sponsors she recruited pledged per mile, not expecting the young Sonya would be able to complete the 20 mile Walk, but to their surprise, she finished the Walk in it’s entirety and has continued to raise a significant amount through the years.
Sonya and Ingrid keep a Walk for Hunger memory box showing pictures, pledge forms and stickers from the various years that they have participated. It keeps them motivated and builds excitement for the Walk season.
This past year, Sonya volunteered her time to paint a sign for the Walk that she requested to be put up around mile marker 18. She asked for the sign’s later mile placement as motivation to keep walking. This picture shows Sonya and her creatively painted sign.
Sonya recalls with fondness the cheering volunteers, the great music and entertainment on the Common and the food at Daly Field. This year she is hoping to put together a team from her school and encourage her peers to make a difference as she has done.
It's clear from the moment you meet Katherine Hughes that she is a compassionate woman who is dedicated to helping people in need. For 14 years and counting, she spends the springtime fundraising and recruiting Walkers for The Walk for Hunger.
And each year she is more and more committed to making a difference.
In earlier Walks, Katherine participated with a few family members, friends, and a few people from her church. After a few years, she became a Heart & Sole Walker, and since then — for more than 10 years now — she has raised at least $1000 each year for her part in the Walk.
In 2004, Katherine made recruiting a large team from her church a priority. The Trinity Church Team, now one of the largest and most successful teams involved in the Walk, has expanded to over 100 Walkers and raises about $25,000 annually under Katherine’s steady encouragement!
Katherine motivates the team by inviting speakers, recruiting church leadership, and holding an annual bake sale to encourage fundraising for the Walk. She thinks that part of the appeal of the Walk for members of Katherine’s church is that it is a nice time for families and the church community to spend together as they walk the 20-mile route.
“A sense of camaraderie has developed between Walkers on the Trinity team, and sometimes parents and children. Apart from fundraising and the importance of the Walk, the event itself is an unusual opportunity in this harried world for kids and adults (and adults with adults) to talk in an unhurried, thoughtful way.”
As a dedicated part of The Walk for Hunger for the last 20 years, Heart & Sole Walker Karen Allschwang of Newton raises over $1,000 every year for the Walk.
“Years ago, I started the Walk as a challenge to myself. I felt at that time as I still do now — that the Walk supported a worthy cause, and that my walking and raising money might help the less fortunate. I have been very lucky and have never had to go hungry. Attending various meeting through the years, I've learned how many people — especially children in Massachusetts — go to bed and to school hungry.”
Each year, Karen prepares for the 20-mile route by walking on a treadmill at the gym or through her neighborhood streets. After being in an office all day, she looks forward to this special part of spring that gives her a good reason to get outside and exercise.
For Karen, the Walk is also a time to reconnect with friends. For the last six years, she has participated in the Walk with the same friend. Walking 20 miles together gives them a chance to catch up on each other lives while spending time helping others.
Karen advises new Walkers to “do what you can on Walk Day. Whether you walk a mile or the entire Walk, you should feel good about your accomplishments and that you are helping to stamp out hunger in Massachusetts.”
When you have the enthusiasm that Leah does, you’re bound to inspire others to support the causes that you care about.
And you may even end up on a Walk for Hunger T poster or brochure.
This was the good fortune of Heart & Sole Walker, Leah S. in 2007. Her charisma when participating in the Walk that year captured the attention of some of Project Bread’s volunteer photographers.
Leah participated in The Walk for Hunger with her school, raising money and supporting hungry people in Massachusetts. Seeing herself on the Walk’s materials reinvigorated this socially active young woman to utilize her new-found fame to champion the cause of ending hunger.
Leah made it her mission to increase awareness, recruit more members for her school’s team, and raise more money for the hungry when she participated in the Walk the following year. In fact, she was asked to speak in front of her home congregation about hunger and how to help those in need. Her speech was well received, as it was copied and emailed around the community, generating large donations for her team.
Thanks to her efforts, Leah’s team of 41 Walkers raised over $10,000, and Leah herself raised over $2,500 of that total!
Many people ask Leah why they should get involved in The Walk for Hunger. According to Leah:
“It’s one of the most amazing things that happen in Boston every year. It’s definitely worth the time and that twenty miles is a lot shorter then it sounds! It’s great in terms of community. If that many people in Boston were concerned with social justice issues daily, then there wouldn’t be many problems. They’re coming out every year to do this. I love it.”
Thank you, Leah, for your incredible efforts and enthusiasm! You have made a difference in the lives of hungry people in Massachusetts.
Because of her dedication to ending hunger in Massachusetts, Jackie Baker of Groton has spent each spring fundraising for The Walk for Hunger. This year will be her 14th year!
Jackie started walking in 1991, and since then, her commitment to ending hunger has grown in an exemplary way: three years ago, she became a Heart and Sole Walker, and has raised over $1,000 each year since. Three years ago she also began serving as the Team Leader for her company, Teradyne, in North Reading, helping to manage its growing team. This year, Jackie took her commitment a step further, helping to convince Teradyne to provide a cash donation and become as one of this year’s Walk Finish Line sponsors.
Like many Walkers, Jackie has her Walk traditions: she spends the night before the Walk in Boston with her sister Kathleen, so she can arrive early on the Boston Common the next morning. It was Kathleen, a Heart & Sole Walker herself, who first encouraged Jackie to do the Walk back in 1991 — and who has been walking with her sister — and the troop of dedicated Walkers Jackie’s organized — ever since. This core group of family and friends has grown significantly over the last few years, and now includes many of Jackie’s co-workers as well.
These additions have had an impact on Jackie’s fundraising strategy. “I find that as I get more Walkers to walk,” said Jackie, “I’m using up my pool of donors. So, I need to broaden my network and use all my contacts to increase those pledges!” She also reported that using the Walk’s online tools significantly helped her last year, both in fundraising and in recruiting at home and at work.
“One of my favorite parts of the Walk is seeing so many different people — all the shapes, sizes, ages, and nationalities — united for a special cause,” commented Jackie. “ It’s such a great day of solidarity. My favorite view is the one you have from the Mass. Ave. Bridge — all you can see ahead and behind is a stream of Walkers,” she added. “The tulips on the Common and ice cream at the end are pretty good too!”
Andy Bromberg, 11, is a seasoned veteran at The Walk for Hunger - already participating in the last ten Walks.
At 10 months old, Andy spent his first Walk being pushed in a carriage by his mother. Andy now walks each year with his aunt, his mom or dad, and his grandmother who has participated in The Walk for Hunger for more than 20 years.
"The reason I do the Walk every year is because I want to help people. I also think about all the helpers along the way, helping us cross the street, the people checking off our papers, and everyone else is really nice," said Andy.
Andy, who is a Heart and Sole Walker, raised over $1000 to help alleviate hunger in the state of Massachusetts. His dedication to the Walk helps 50 families receive a week's worth of groceries from local food pantries.
To prepare for the journey, Andy says his parents "help me prepare by making me put Vaseline on my feet so I don’t get blisters. Other than that, I’m just a kid, so my preparation involves running around."
Some of his favorite treats on Walk day are getting bagels in Newton Center and stopping along the route at almost every ice cream truck he sees. But when asked what his favorite part of the Walk is, Andy said "I like the home stretch. I get a great feeling “Yes!!! I’m going to make it!”
Walking as a Weight Loss Goal!
Introducing Dina Conlon-Bilo of Chelsea, who lost 170 pounds since June 2005 and made finishing The Walk for Hunger one of her weight loss goals.
While she was losing weight, Dina was involved in an horrific automobile accident with her husband, Scott. She broke her neck and had two plates and over a dozen screws put in her arm. But Dina stayed on the diet and recovered from the accident. Her supervisors and coworkers at KPMG LLP, an accounting firm in Boston, provided her with a much needed support system and helped her reach both her rehabilitation and weight loss goals so that she could walk all 20 miles at the 2006 Walk for Hunger. In fact, Dina’s performance manager, Robin Crespo of Winthrop, and coworker, Paula Grasso of Danvers, walked with her — each providing Dina with motivation along the entire route — especially at mile 17.5 when Dina found the Walk most challenging.
Not only did Dina lose 170 pounds, but she raised over $500 and joined the Heart & Sole Circle — a dedicated group of Walkers who raise at least $500 each year and who, together, raise over $1 million to feed hungry people. Congratulations Dina!
Below are Lisa’s remarks from the Heart & Sole Tent at the 2005 Walk for Hunger.
"I promise I won’t take much of your time. I know we all want to get walking!
Today is special to me for three reasons. First, it is my 8th Walk for Hunger. Second, I have been nominated as May’s Featured Walker on Project Bread’s website. And third, today is the start of Brain Tumor Awareness Week. I know that because I am a brain tumor survivor.
On April 17, 2004, my world crashed in on me while vacationing in Orlando, Florida. I had a seizure and later a CAT scan, which detected a mass on the left side of my brain. I was trying desperately to hold onto the life I was used to, but too many things were out of my control. I was not a part of last year’s Walk, but not because I didn’t ask. My neurosurgeon said no, with a promise I would be here in 2005.
Well, I made it, and I am here! May 18th is my Second Chance Anniversary.
Not walking last year taught me a lot. I know all the facts. I know families here in Massachusetts need help. And I know all the good things the money raised today will do. But I didn’t know all the good things the Walk does for me. Sure, I have always felt great handing in my donations. I purchase three Walk t-shirts every year, one for my husband Chris, one for my son Cody, and one for me. Tonight, I will be watching the news to see how many Walkers are here and how much money we raised. But it goes deeper than that.
I never knew the void I would feel should this Walk be taken from me. The training, recruiting friends and family, what to wear, the morning ritual of blister protection, sunscreen, Tylenol before I start and more at the half way point, whether I need it or not. And I can go on. I am sure you all have your rituals you do every year. But The Walk for Hunger is so much more than a 20-mile Walk the first Sunday in May. For us in the Heart & Sole Circle, the Walk has become part of who we are and how we see ourselves in the role to help others. Hopefully, you will never have to go through what I did to truly understand it.
I am going to ask you to do something for yourself today. Take time out and consciously make note of your surroundings. Look at the Walkers. Look at the volunteers. Watch the tourists in the public gardens. Listen to the laughter. Take in everything this day has to offer. And don’t let it end there. Tomorrow morning when you can’t climb out of bed because your muscles hurt, laugh at yourself! It’s what makes this day special.
Life can change in a moment. Enjoy today. You have worked hard to get here. Don’t let the day just slip by. You owe it to yourself. Think of it as a “Thank You” from all the families you help.
- Lisa Conrad
Sunday, May 1, 2005
The Walk for Hunger
Lisa Conrad of Fitchburg, MA has been a devoted participant of The Walk for Hunger for eight years. Although faced with a major crisis last year, Lisa’s dedication to ending hunger in Massachusetts has never wavered. For this year’s Walk, Lisa has triumphantly returned to battle against hunger as she had once battled a brain tumor. We thank Lisa for sharing her inspirational story with us.
Last year, Heart & Sole Walkers George and Kolya Ecker patrolled their Wellesley neighborhood and collected over $5,000 for The Walk for Hunger. Respectively, the father-son duo dedicates each spring to their fundraising efforts to help end hunger in Massachusetts. Through George and Kolya’s tag-team efforts, they have collected over $33,000 in Walk pledges since George began participating in 1989. “For this year’s Walk, we hope to raise over $5,000 again. We know how desperately these funds are needed in towns across the state,” stated George.
The 2005 Walk for Hunger will be will be George’s 17th Walk, and Kolya’s 5th Walk. Fifteen year-old Kolya, who attends the Hillside School in Marlborough, has been involved with the Walk since 2000.
In the past couple of months, George and Kolya have trained for the Walk through snow and sun. From skiing, to hiking with their local Boy Scout troop, to just taking a stroll around the block, the pair has prepared for all types of weather and terrain on Walk Day. “Walking the 20 miles isn’t as daunting as it sounds because we keep active all winter long,” said George.
After a “spring training” of collecting pledges and exercising, George and Kolya see Walk Day as an opportunity to finally relax. Following a hearty pasta dish the night before and a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, George and Kolya set out on the Walk route. “I enjoy that feeling of a fresh start first thing in the morning,” stated George. “Being at the Walk, with all the people out on the route, gives us a start that keeps us going all day long.”
Nina G. of Needham, 13, is already a seasoned veteran of The Walk for Hunger, having participated in the Walk six times!
At 3 years old, Nina spent her first Walk being pushed in a stroller. Nina now walks each year with her sister, mom, and friends. However, Nina notes that she has walked the most with her mother, Verna. “It is really nice because after all my friends stop, my mother and I walk longer and we have ‘Mommy and me’ time.” Nina said.
Another very important part of Nina’s Walk experience is how she is committed to helping alleviate hunger in Massachusetts. “My favorite part [of the Walk] is knowing that by walking that day, I am saving a life or two from the pain of hunger.” Last year, Nina took that commitment a step further by raising over $500 and becoming a member of the Heart & Sole Circle — all at the age of just 12 years old!
Even last year’s weather didn’t put a damper on Nina’s dedication to the Walk. Her mother Verna comments, “I wanted to stop the Walk after 6 miles as we were wet and shivering from the rain. Nina wouldn't hear of it. Even when her friends stopped at mile 10, we still continued on.” Nina adds, “When we got to the second to last checkpoint, I said, ‘if we are going to walk the whole thing, this is the year — and we did!”
As a teacher in the Boston school system and a single mother of two, Kay Herbst of Boston joined The Walk for Hunger 22 years ago for two reasons. First, she wanted to get beyond personal challenges, and second, she felt it was time to go out and do something for the local children and families who need help. Since that first Walk in the 1980s, she always looks forward to what is for her the most rewarding day of the year.
Each December, Kay hosts a holiday party. In lieu of collecting
from sponsors in the spring, she asks her holiday guests to donate to
her Walk! Kay’s party is not just a fun event to host and attend, it
is also a very successful fundraising technique as she sees many
friends and family who are especially generous during the holidays. At
last year's party, Kay raised an outstanding $2,239 for the 2006 Walk
For Kay, the Walk is an enormously affirming and invigorating experience. She gets her encouragement from “the energy, the enthusiasm of people of all ages from all walks of life, from the budding trees and blossoms heralding the renewal of life and the promise of summer, and from the pick up bands and musical improvisations blasted from dorm rooms. The overheard conversations, the pep talks and cheers from the marshals, the ‘I think I can’ chants of the last two miles, and finally the satisfaction of accomplishment as we arrive back at the Common: these are what fuel my efforts.”
Thank you, Kay, for your outstanding fundraising efforts, your creativity, and your dedication to The Walk for Hunger.
Because of her dedication to health and hunger prevention, Rosemary Holland of Andover has spent each spring since 1990 fundraising for The Walk for Hunger. And this spring will be extra special as Rosemary will celebrate her 80th birthday not long after the Walk!
A retired nurse from Merrimack College, Rosemary took part in the Walk with a group of students for many years. During one event, she lost track of her fellow Walkers and thought she fell far behind her young group. However, upon arriving back on the Boston Common, it could not have been further from the truth. Rosemary had finished long before any of the college students!
Rosemary prepares for the Walk each year by just getting out and starting to walk. “I’m very active that way,” she asserted. Her daughter Linda, who nominated Rosemary to be a Featured Heart & Sole Walker, says “she walks all over town and collects pledges. Everyone knows her!”
In recent years, Rosemary has asked Linda to join her on the Walk’s 20-mile journey. “It is very special to walk with my mother who has completed the entire 20 miles for several years now,” said Linda.
As Rosemary goes on to raise money for her 18th Walk, her fundraising numbers continue to be impressive. As a dedicated member of both the Heart & Sole and Leadership Circles, Rosemary raises at least $1,000 every year with an outstanding total of over $4,000 for the 2006 Walk!
For the last 25 years, 67-year old Ellen Huber has spent each spring fundraising for The Walk for Hunger in her hometown of Carlisle, MA. Ellen collects pledges from friends and neighbors, many of whom have been donating for 25 years. Her church community, The First Religious Society, has been especially supportive.
To date, Ellen has raised nearly $20,000 to provide funding for emergency food programs, such as the Open Pantry in Lowell where she regularly volunteers. Through her efforts alone, Ellen has helped nearly 1,000 families receive a week’s supply of groceries from one of our 400 food pantries or soup kitchens across the Massachusetts. Ellen’s commitment to helping her community shows through her dedication to The Walk for Hunger.
In preparation for the Walk, Ellen walks with the Carlisle Minutemen on Patriots Day to the Old North Bridge in Concord and back again. Despite her training, Ellen still faces the same struggles that Walkers deal with after Daly Field, the halfway point.
“One of my favorite memories is meeting an eighty-year-old woman at The Walk for Hunger Kickoff Breakfast who finished the Walk in five hours, faster than I’ve ever walked it. She told me ‘I pop my ibuprofen and keep moving.’ She was amazing,” commented Ellen. With this in mind, Ellen finds the motivation to push past the exhaustion and complete the 20-mile course.
In recent years, Ellen enjoys the company of friends as they travel the scenic route through Boston, Brookline, Newton, and Cambridge. “My favorite part of the route is coming down Commonwealth Avenue and walking through the Public Gardens. It’s such a beautiful time of year, and it’s a good time to catch up with old friends,” said Ellen.
Dr. Bai Hoon Lee
Bai Hoon Lee, M.D., is a pathologist at Caritas Norwood Hospital who has taken time out of his busy schedule each year for the last 16 years to help support The Walk for Hunger.
Not only has he been a faithful Walker during this time, but he has also consistently been a Heart & Sole Walker, raising thousands of dollars annually to fight hunger for a grand total of $74,702! Dr. Lee attributes much of his fundraising success to the staff at Caritas Norwood Hospital.
“Thanks to the generosity of the entire hospital staff — from the doctors to the nurses, to the administrative staff and hospital employees throughout various departments — thousands and thousands of dollars in pledges have been donated,” said Dr. Lee. “They continue to be an overwhelming support system, year after year.”
Dr. Lee was introduced to the Walk when he joined a friend for a day of walking and talking back in 1990. He now enjoys the company of 2030 people each year, as he has extended the same invitation to family and friends as well as members of his religious organization, the Korean Catholic Community of Boston. He is especially happy that membership in his Walk team spans the generations.
“It’s been inspiring to see our team grow — and it’s done so naturally, just one person after another!” said Dr. Lee. “It’s also very refreshing to see the youth of our Church so motivated to join us in this special tradition.”
As he approaches his 17th Walk, Dr. Lee continues to be inspired by the number of people who get involved in the Walk. “Project Bread’s mission has always driven me to give as much as I can in order to help them reach their goal of ending hunger in Massachusetts,” said Dr. Lee. “And to do it by sharing my first Sunday in May with equally dedicated individuals who wish to help our hungry neighbors. The outpouring of support from every facet of our community is amazing — no matter what race, age, religious affiliation, or background the Walkers may have, we are all working to end hunger in Massachusetts . . . and that nourishes us.”
Not everyone walks in The Walk for Hunger. Some people swim!
At the age of just thirteen years old, Nathan P. of Cambridge has been a dedicated participant in The Walk for Hunger for nearly half of his life. Nathan started participating in the Walk six years ago, walking with fellow members of his congregation at the Church of the Covenant — a church that runs the Food Cupboard Food Pantry, which provides emergency food to those in need thanks to funds granted by Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger.
But Nathan’s participation last year was a little different. The 2006 Walk would have been his 6th time to make the 20-mile trek, but his U.S.A. swim team was scheduled to have an important meet on the very same day. Nathan was upset by this scheduling conflict, but not discouraged. He had an idea.
With a long distance of 1500 meters to swim at his meet, Nathan was able to remain faithful to both his swim team and to his commitment to ending hunger. And according to Nathan, “swimming long distances is actually harder for me than walking — I think I'm a sprinter!”
With encouragement from his coach, Nathan considered his swim meet that day a “Swim for Hunger.” He not only surpassed his goal of $500, but with the help of his Mom, Linda, he pulled in a grand total of $1,000!
“I was sorry to miss walking with two first-time Walkers from our church, but I am happy that I more than met my goal as a Heart & Sole Walker and still felt like I was part of this year’s Walk! You can do it if you try!”
Because of his dedication to The Walk for Hunger, 15-year-old David Siu, a Heart & Sole Walker, has raised a total of $1,617 in the past three years to help end hunger in Massachusetts. His fundraising alone helps to provide nearly 10,000 pounds of food to 400 emergency food programs in the Bay State.
David’s story of how he became a Heart & Sole Walker is a classic example of how anyone, at any age, can make a difference in the lives of hungry people.
David first became involved with The Walk for Hunger when a Project Bread representative came to his sixth grade class and talked about how one in three children, in low-income communities, are hungry. With this in mind, David collects over $500 each spring with great enthusiasm.
“My favorite part of the Walk for Hunger is collecting pledges. It's always fun to see how much people really care about such a great cause,” David said.
Each year on Walk Day, David and his sister start their morning with a stop at Dunkin Donuts and traditionally share their Munchkins with a homeless person. “It is really cool to see the person’s face light up with joy and gratitude,” David commented. As the day progresses, David, his sister, and a Walk Team from his high school keep a lookout for DJs from their favorite radio stations, like KISS 108 or JAMN 94.5.
With Brigham’s ice cream at the Finish Line and the feeling of accomplishment he feels on Walk Day, David finds the motivation to finish the 20-mile route.
she first heard about The Walk for Hunger, Althea Ullman, then 65,
thought about the 20 miles and asked her husband: “Do you think I’m too
old for this?” That was 20 years and 20 Walks ago and Althea, now
85-years-old and still going strong, is a testament to the value of
walking and giving.
Each year, Althea, a Heart & Sole Walker, raises approximately $5,000 to support the battle against hunger in Massachusetts. Althea’s fundraising efforts help to supply 30,000 pounds of food annually to local food pantries and soup kitchens across the Bay State.
A mother of five and grandmother of 12, Althea is all business when it comes to training for the Walk. Along with swimming, yoga, and exercise classes, Althea makes sure to walk every day outside or on a treadmill. Althea’s daughter, a marathoner, has to keep up with her mother who walks all 20 miles in about five hours.
At the Walk and other Project Bread events, such as the Kickoff Breakfast and the Grant Ceremony, Althea enjoys meeting other devoted Walkers and sharing Walk stories. Althea’s favorite Walk memory is one of a lively youth she met on the Walk route who asked his teachers for pledges. “I once walked with a teenager who had a boom-box, and we quickly became friends. He was walking because his sister had received food from a Project Breadfunded agency, and he felt like he had to give back.”
Although she dreads the last five miles of the route, Althea looks forward to strolling through the Public Gardens, surrounded by hundreds of dedicated Walkers. “On Walk Day, everyone you see is out trying to help end hunger,” said Althea. “There’s a lot of emotion out there that helps to carry me over the Finish Line.”
When Mary Walling of Hudson first heard about The Walk for Hunger, she had no way of knowing how important the Walk would become to her, or to so many others in Massachusetts.
It was 1969, and as a young member of the congregation at the Paulist Center, Mary first heard about the Walk from Patrick Hughes, the priest from the Paulist Center who established The Walk for Hunger. Mary helped organize the very first Walk for Hunger with other activists from the congregation that year. She was part of the team that volunteered to make sandwiches for the Walkers who were taking part in the historic first Walk.
Since then, Mary has Walked or volunteered in nearly 30 Walks, and is a very special Heart & Sole Walker. Last year alone, she raised almost $3,000 for hungry people, and she has been a Heart & Sole Walker for over ten years!
And her dedication is hard to beat. While she was involved through the 1970's and 1980's, she is proud to say that she has only missed one Walk since 1988! The repetition has not bored her though. "I still get goose bumps," she says, when thinking about the Walk. "I'm overwhelmed at the crush of humanity that comes out every year, willing to walk as far as they can to show they care about hungry people."
It's worth noting that Mary's participation has not come without challenges. In fact, being able to walk at all is a triumph for Mary, whose family was told when she was just an infant that she may never walk due to a serious medical condition. Then, as an adult, her participation has been challenged by everything from minor illness to suffering a stroke. Through it all, Mary finds the inspiration and dedication to participate each May. Acknowledging the hardships she has overcome, she admits, "I know just how fortunate I am to be able to be part of the Walk every year."
As part of the Walk's legacy, Mary is fit to offer some advice to those considering participating this year for the first time: "Just take that first step." When you do, she promises that you won't regret it. And when she sees you on Walk Day — because you know she'll be there! — Mary says she'll be delighted to cheer for you and say, "thanks for walking!"