On May 1, Church of the Covenant will be among thousands of virtual participants to lace up for Project Bread’s 54th annual Walk for Hunger.
As participants and Project Bread partners from the earliest years of the Walk for Hunger, the Boston-based nonprofit, located in the Back Bay at the corner of Berkley and Newbury Street, will participate for the third consecutive year through The Commonwealth Program, which gives 60 percent of all funds raised by teams from likeminded organizations and agencies back to support their own hunger relief programs, with the remaining 40 percent applied to the statewide anti-hunger effort. Since 2020, Project Bread has awarded $8,662 in grants to Church of the Covenant.
Historically, the Walk for Hunger, the nation’s oldest continual pledge walk, takes place the first Sunday of May on the Boston Common. The 2022 fundraiser will be the third event to be done virtually and is expected to raise more than $1 million to support Project Bread’s work to increase food access for people of all ages in Massachusetts.
“Currently, one in five Massachusetts households with children is struggling without enough to eat and that number jumps dramatically for Black, brown, and immigrant households,” said Erin McAleer, Project Bread CEO. “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 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, like Church of the Covenant, that are helping residents to access food now and grants to ensure communities have the resources necessary to sustain and grow local anti-hunger programs. In 2021, 28 nonprofits participated in The Commonwealth Program and raised more than $165,000 to support their own work.
The Food Pantry at the Church of the Covenant is a volunteer-run organization that distribute bags of groceries to low-income individuals and families on Saturday and Sunday mornings, when many other food programs are not open. In recent years, the majority of clients served are elderly or immigrants on fixed incomes who live within walking distance from areas, such as Chinatown or the South End. In 2021, the nonprofit served an average of 220 households representing about 450 family members each month. Funds raised through the pantry’s participation in the Walk for Hunger will go toward purchasing additional food to supplement donations for clients from the Greater Boston Food Bank.
“On Saturday and Sunday mornings when we arrive to open the pantry, there are usually quite a few people waiting outside,” said Faith Perry, Director of the Church of the Covenant Food Pantry. “They count on us to provide supplementary food every month. Participating in Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger to support our organization and other community-based anti-hunger organizations is one more way we can show up for them. After all, Jesus said, ‘I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.’ What could be more clear?”
This year’s event will include virtual programming with McAleer, elected officials, as well as 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 and teams of corporate employees are encouraged to find creative ways to connect virtually and fundraise together.
To register for the event and create a personal or team fundraising page for The Walk for Hunger or to make a donation, visit projectbread.org/walk or call 617-723-5000.There is no registration fee or fundraising minimum to participate. 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 toll-free FoodSource Hotline (1-800-645-8333), which provides confidential assistance to connect with food resources, including SNAP benefits, in 180 languages and for the hearing impaired. For more information, visit: www.projectbread.org/get-help.