Faith leaders rally support for 40th Hunger Walk

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz spoke at a press conference announcing Dare to Care Food Bank’s 40th annual Hunger Walk Aug. 20. Behind him were faith leaders from across the community. The Hunger Walk, Dare to Care’s largest and oldest fundraiser, is set for Sept. 23 at Water Front Park’s Harbor Lawn. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz joined a group of faith leaders Aug. 20 to call on the community to support Dare to Care Food Bank’s 40th annual Hunger Walk.

This year, the Hunger Walk will take place Sept. 23 at Water Front Park’s Harbor Lawn starting at noon with a family festival featuring music and inflatables. The walk will start at 2:15 p.m.

Archbishop Kurtz said during the press conference that the Hunger Walk is important because it provides “visible and tangible ways” of showing that “hunger has no place in this community.” In the Gospel, said Archbishop Kurtz, “Jesus clearly told us that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters that we do for him.”

The archbishop added that “hunger awareness is a need for us to say that no one should go hungry.” The faith leaders in this community “can come together with no qualifications to say that.”

Archbishop Kurtz assured those gathered that he’d be present for the Hunger Walk and invited others in the community to do the same.

The Hunger Walk is Dare to Care’s oldest and largest fundraising event, said Brian Riendeau, executive director of Dare to Care. This is “the one issue that can unite faiths,” Riendeau told  the gathering. “Everyone believes people shouldn’t go hungry.”

Every dollar raised at the Hunger Walk goes to feeding children, senior citizens and families in the community, said Riendeau. The Hunger Walk also “reminds the community that hunger is a real issue and we need the community to help end it,” he noted.

Dare to Care partners with nearly 300 local social service agencies, such as food pantries, shelters and emergency kitchens to distribute food to the community. In the past year, the non-profit and its partners provided 19.9 million meals to needy people in the community, according to Dare to Care’s website.

Dare to Care also provides meals and enrichment activities to children at risk of hunger through its Kids Cafe program. Other programs include Backpack Buddy, which provides weekend nutrition to children, and the Prescriptive Pantry, a new program started last year in which Dare to Care partners with health clinics to provide nutritious food items to families dealing with food insecurity.

Other programs include the Mobile Pantry, which brings food directly to neighborhoods, and senior outreach programs, which aim to help seniors at risk of going hungry.

To register for the Hunger Walk, visit https://www.classy.org/event/hunger-walk-2018-presented-by-kroger/e197310.

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