2015 Walk Aims to Offer A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out to Families Facing Food Insecurity

Project Bread, the only statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts, has announced that the 47th annual Walk for Hunger will take place on Sunday, May 3, 2015. Registration is now open for the 20-mile Walk event, which has raised awareness of the issues of hunger in Massachusetts, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars, since 1969.

Project Bread’s 2014 Status Report on Hunger revealed that the rate of household food insecurity is 71% higher than it was a decade ago, up from 6.2% in 2003 to 10.6% in 2013. Today, working families are often the face of food insecurity. According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, low wage earnings have increased by only 1.2% since 1985 compared to an increase of 34.5% for high wage earners. As a result of the failure of wages to keep up with the rising cost of living, people who are employed at low wage jobs can no longer meet their basic needs.

From Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread

“Ten years ago, almost everyone who was working full-time in Massachusetts could expect to earn enough to cover the basics – food on the table and a roof overhead.  Today, more and more we hear from working people who are earning an hourly wage that it just isn’t enough. They have some money but not enough to reliably predict when they can feed their families. Funds raised from The Walk for Hunger help to bridge that gap.”

The 20-mile Walk for Hunger begins and ends at the Boston Common, with rolling registration from 7-9AM. The Walk route weaves through Boston, Brookline, Newton, Watertown, and Cambridge. Local entertainment and water stops help keep the Walkers going throughout the day and educational elements will help Walkers learn more about food insecurity and the range of anti-hunger solutions. Participants can register and join at any checkpoint during the Walk and have the option of taking a shuttle bus back to the Boston Common at any checkpoint.

The Walk for Hunger raises funds to address issues of hunger across the Commonwealth. Project Bread works to create, facilitate and fund a diverse set of solutions that meet the needs of working people, including access to fresh produce, local food pantries, community-based meal programs and early childhood and school nutrition programs.

These programs and initiatives include:

  • Advocacy: Project Bread works with government leaders and advocates to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, universal access to healthy school meals and other federal programs.
  • Education: The Chefs in Head Start, Chefs in Schools and other cooking programs teach parents, teenagers and school food providers how to cook healthy food on a budget.
  • Access: The School Breakfast and Summer Food Service programs help ensure school children have access to as many healthy meals as possible throughout the full year.
  • Fresh and Healthy: Community Supported Agriculture programs help people buy reduced-priced vegetable shares with their SNAP benefits.
  • Assistance: Project Bread trains clinicians in more than 25 health centers across the state to identify people in need and offer the appropriate forms of assistance.
  • Knowledge: The staff at the FoodSource Hotline connects people with the proper resources to best help their individual situations.

Registration for the 2015 Walk for Hunger is now open. Individuals can Walk, volunteer, and donate at www.projectbread.org/Walk. More information is also available by calling 617-723-5000.

If you or someone you know is struggling to put food on the table, please call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.

About Project Bread

Project Bread is the only statewide anti-hunger organization committed to providing people of all ages, cultures, and Walks of life with sustainable, reliable access to nutritious food. From community-based meal programs, to early childhood and school nutrition initiatives, to improved access to farm-to-table resources, Project Bread approaches hunger as a complex problem with multiple solutions. With funds raised through The Walk for Hunger, the oldest continual pledge Walk in the country, and other sources, Project Bread pioneers innovative initiatives and supports effective programs to eradicate hunger in our state. The Walk’s flagship sponsor is Nature’s Harvest Bread; its participating sponsors include Arbella Insurance Foundation and Raytheon Company. For more information, visit www.projectbread.org, www.facebook.com/projectbread, or www.twitter.com/Walkforhunger.