On May 2, First Congregational Church of Revere will be among thousands of virtual participants to lace up for Project Bread’s 53rd annual Walk for Hunger. For the second consecutive year, the Revere-based nonprofit will participate in the event through The Commonwealth Program which gives 60 percent of all funds raised by teams from likeminded organizations and agencies back to support their own anti-hunger programs, with the remaining 40 percent applied to the statewide anti-hunger effort. Last year, Project Bread awarded a more than $4,780 grant to First Congregational Church of Revere.
Historically, the Walk for Hunger, the nation’s oldest continual pledge walk, takes place the first Sunday of May on the Boston Common. The 2021 fundraiser will be the second event to be done virtually and is expected to raise more than $1 million to help get food to kids and families during the COVID-19 crisis.
“As the pandemic continues to take a financial toll on individuals and families, we must do everything we can to help the one in six households and one in five households with children across Massachusetts currently experiencing food insecurity,” says McAleer. “Participating in the Walk for Hunger is one way in which residents can take action to fund school and community meal sites and Massachusetts’ only statewide hotline that connects residents with a range of food resources, including SNAP assistance. We can drive community change together.”
Money raised through the Walk is funding Project Bread’s urgent COVID-19 hunger-relief response work to ensure kids have reliable access to food, directly helping individuals and families, 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.
“Last year, it was incredible to see individual walkers and teams find 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 Massachusetts neighbors have enough to eat,” says Erin McAleer, CEO of Project Bread. “Collectively, they raised $895,000.”
This year’s event will include Facebook Live check-ins throughout the day with McAleer, celebrity appearances, elected officials, walkers and volunteers posting and sharing their experiences along their neighborhood routes and why they are walking to help end hunger. Families with kids, individuals with dogs, and teams of corporate employees are encouraged to find creative ways to connect virtually and fundraise together.
To register as a virtual walker for Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger, or to support a walker or team, visit projectbread.org/walk or call (617) 723-5000. There is no registration fee or fundraising minimum to participate, although a $250 minimum goal is suggested. Participants who raise $500 or more are recognized as Heart & Sole walkers, and receive access to personalized fundraising support, exclusive event gear, and invitations to events.
People experiencing food insecurity should call into Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline (1-800-645-8333), which provides confidential assistance in accessing food resources in 180 languages and for the hearing impaired. Counselors can pre-screen families and help them to apply for SNAP, which would make them eligible for no charge or reduced-price school meals, and answer questions about eligibility for school meals through the National School Lunch Program. The most up to date meal site information is available through the FoodSource Hotline or at projectbread.org/covid19. Strict safety protocols and best practices for social distancing are being closely adhered to across distribution models and locations for maximum safety. No registration or ID is required to receive a meal. The nonprofit’s COVID-19 Resources pages in English and Spanish.
Project Bread is the leading statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts. 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.