Saugus resident raises money for statewide end to hunger
On May 7, Angela Vozzella, of Saugus, will hit the pavement for Project Bread’s 55th annual Walk for Hunger. She will be among over 3,000 participants, both in person and virtual, to walk the new three-mile loop around the Boston Common or in their own neighborhoods. Back on the Common for the first time since 2019, the one-day fundraising event will raise more than $1 million to support food assistance resources and sustainable policy solutions to end hunger across the Commonwealth.
Beginning in 1969, as the first pledge walk in the nation, Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger brings together a diverse community dedicated to creating change. On Sunday, May 7, the annual fundraiser returns to Boston Common after three years of being virtual due to COVID-19 safety precautions. This rite of passage for people in Massachusetts returns in its 55th year with a shorter route and a fresh look. The mission of the time-honored tradition will never change. The fundraising goal this year is over $1 million.
“As we continue to recover from the pandemic and see federal emergency benefits such as expanded SNAP benefits coming to an end, 1 in 5 Massachusetts households with children are still struggling without enough to eat,” said Project Bread CEO Erin McAleer. “That number jumps dramatically for Black, brown, and immigrant households. Participating in Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger is one way we can all do something real to make sure our neighbors in need can get the food to meet their most basic of needs.”
Vozzella plans to lace up virtually for “Project Bread’s the Walk for Hunger®.” This will be her 25th year participating in the event. She will “walk” around Wakefield’s Lake Quannapowitt to raise funds and awareness for food insecurity.
Working as a teacher in the public school system, Vozzella sees firsthand the importance of children getting enough to eat. “The more people that get involved, the greater impact we can make,” says Vozzella. “I walk to help feed children and families in need. Where I work, some children come to school hungry. My school provides breakfast and lunch for those children, with no questions asked.”
Money raised through the Walk for Hunger is critical to Project Bread’s statewide work to ensure kids reliably have enough to eat, provide one-on-one support for individuals and families who need food assistance, and work to prevent hunger in the first place by eliminating barriers to resources and implementing policies that make food more accessible. In keeping with the community spirit of the event, the Walk also provides a platform for organizations to fund the vital work they do fighting hunger locally. The Commonwealth is a joint fundraising program Project Bread launched in 2019. In 2022, 36 nonprofits raised more than $123,000 to support their own programs.
“This year’s event represents a culmination of our fundraising season and a celebration of community efforts over the last three years of the pandemic to fundraise and walk to solve hunger,” says McAleer. “We cannot wait to welcome the Massachusetts community – both new and returning – together in-person on the Common while continuing to engage those across the country making strides in the fight against hunger locally.”
This year’s event will include remarks by McAleer as well as family-friendly activities on Boston Common, such as live music, photo booths, giveaways and raffle prizes, lawn games and a Kid’s Corner with balloon animals and face painting. For the fifth consecutive year, Project Bread is inviting other anti-hunger programs to participate as co-fundraisers in the event through the Commonwealth Program.
To register as a participant for Project Bread’s The Walk for Hunger, or to support a walker or team with a donation, 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 Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline (1-800-645-8333), which provides confidential, free assistance getting connected to a variety of food resources in 180 languages and for the hearing impaired. Counselors can prescreen families and help them to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Learn more at www.projectbread.org/get-help.
About Project Bread
Project Bread is the leading statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts. The nonprofit focuses on driving systemic change to ensure people of all ages have reliable access to healthy food. 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.