On May 1, Angela Vozzella, of Saugus, will lace up for Project Bread’s 54th annual Walk for Hunger. She will be among over a thousand virtual participants to walk in their own neighborhoods to raise more than $1 million to help get food assistance to kids and families across the Commonwealth. 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 celebrated virtually.
“As the pandemic continues to take a financial toll on people and entire communities, we must do everything we can to help the 1 in 6 households struggling to afford food,” said Project Bread CEO Erin McAleer. “Participating in Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger is one way we can all do something tangible to make sure our neighbors can get food to meet their most basic need. Our community has shown we have the power to create meaningful change. This year is especially important. As the effects of the pandemic begin to wane, so do many of the hunger relief measures temporarily put in place to help people. But food insecurity won’t end with the pandemic, and we’re fighting for permanent support to all families who need it.”
For more than 10 years, Vozzella, 53, has participated in Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger. This year she will walk her own virtual route around Lake Quannapowitt to raise $500. The local educator comes back year after year to give back and to pay it forward to the students within the public school system who receive free breakfast and lunch to ease the burden of the high cost of food on family budgets.
“The Walk for Hunger provides an opportunity to step outside, exercise and meet new people while raising money and awareness for an important cause,” said Vozzella. “I am thankful for the food I have and the opportunity to do some good in this world.”
Money raised through the virtual Walk is funding Project Bread’s urgent mission to ensure kids have reliable access to food, to directly help individuals and families and to advocate 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 people access food locally and ensuring communities have the resources necessary to respond to the hunger crisis now and over the long road to recovery ahead.
“Our walk community always inspires us. In the early days of the pandemic, we weren’t sure what would happen. The people of Massachusetts showed up for us in a big way – almost immediately. From sewing and selling face masks, to doing family fitness challenges, or even writing songs and walking their own routes, people found a way to raise money to help those who really needed it. I think Massachusetts is a state that takes care of its own and people just understood how important it was,” said Project Bread Director of Development Alexa Drolette. “We were honored that the event raised over $1 million last year, and we’re looking for another great show of support on May 1.”
This year’s event will include virtual programming with McAleer and 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 as a virtual participant 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 Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline (1-800-645-8333), which provides confidential, free assistance to get connected to a variety of food resources in 180 languages and for the hearing impaired. Counselors can prescreen families and help them apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).