‘Hunger Walk’ brings in funds for Food Bank
A few hundred people, mostly high school students, walked a couple miles Sunday afternoon near Baton Rouge’s Garden District to raise awareness for area residents who don’t always know when they’ll get their next meal.
Families, students and even a woman in her 90s slipped on walking shoes for this year’s “Hunger Walk,” formerly known as the “CROP Walk,” which sent the fluid crowd from the Catholic Life Center on South Acadian Thruway to Catholic High School and back.
The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and the Interfaith Federation of Baton Rouge teamed up to host the walk, which changed names so that 100 percent of the food and money donated could stay in the Baton Rouge area, said the Rev. Robin McCullough-Bade of the Interfaith Federation’s Holy Grill.
Before the walk, many participants scribbled notes onto orange pieces of paper and pinned them to their backs to recognize groups of people or individuals who deal with food insecurity on a regular basis.
“I am walking for Jesus to stop Hunger,” read one woman’s note, while other messages called attention to children who go to bed hungry.
One name appeared on more notes than any other: Trevor Sims.
Trevor, an 11-year-old boy whose desire to help the homeless sparked a local food drive that so far has raised the equivalent of more than 350,000 meals, died about two weeks ago after a five-year battle with cancer.
The donations raised with Trevor’s help continue to have a tremendous impact on the food bank, said Emily Zering, the food bank’s public relations and special events coordinator.
Still, the 11-parish area served by the food bank has a “meal gap” of more than 20 million meals, according to a 2011 study published by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization.
“Twenty million” represents the difference between the number of meals provided by federal, state and local agencies to the area and the number of meals that would be needed to feed the area’s more than 120,000 food-insecure residents three meals a day, according to the “Map the Meal Gap” study.
Mike Manning, the food bank’s president and CEO, encouraged attendees to donate to the hunger prevention cause before the walk, no matter how small the contribution.
“It may only be for one person,” Manning said. “But for that person, it may be a world changer.”