Published February 19, 2009
More than 200,000 folks from Atlanta and around the region have raised money to feed hundreds of thousands of people who struggle with hunger or the threat of hunger.
They do it one step at a time. They do it by lacing up their shoes and hitting the streets. Some 10,000 people are expected to participate this year, as grim economic forecasts squeeze everyone.
“We are so grateful to have reached this milestone in the history of the Hunger Walk, enabling us to help so many of Atlanta’s needy over the years,” says Bill Bolling, the Food Bank’s executive director.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society is one of six community partners that receive a portion of the event’s proceeds. Four other local nonprofits recruit participants and benefit from the event: the Episcopal Charities Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Lutheran Services of Georgia and Presbyterian Answer to Hunger (PATH).
The Hunger Walk began as a small volunteer event created in response to domestic and international hunger issues in 1984. In 1988 it became a special project of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. At the start of the new millennium the 5K Hunger Run was introduced, and in 2001, the certified 10K Hunger Run was added as a Peachtree Road Race Qualifier.
Hunger Walk/Run remains a family-friendly community tradition. It offers the rare occasion to bring together people of every race, generation and religion in metro Atlanta.
Last year alone, supporters and participants raised more than a quarter million dollars.
There are lots of family activities from carnival games to sidewalk chalk activities and basketball toss to Four Square.
Live entertainment keeps the energy level high as teams of walkers and runners set off for the course.
Already 23 SVdP teams are registered to hit the streets. Participants are encouraged to get sponsors and contributions for their effort. Online donations can be made to the team doing the walking.
Refreshments are available during the event, and volunteers are stationed to help walkers stay on course. Atlanta police provide traffic control along the route, and nurses are available for first-aid needs.
Participants begin the walk or race at Turner Field and travel a scenic historic route throughout downtown Atlanta with live performers supporting them along the way.
Leslie Hamilton, director of the Hunger Walk/Run event, said, “In addition to its long history, it would have to be the entertainment! We have marching bands, drum corps, dancers and singers all along the route.”
For more information on Hunger Walk/Run 2009, visit ACFB.org, call (404) 892-3333 ext. 1223, or e-mail email@example.com for more information. Information is also available at the St. Vincent de Paul Web site, www.svdpatl.org/HungerWalk.php.