Vendor Voices: My Walk for Hunger

On Sunday May 1, I finally got up the courage to go out and participate in the Walk for Hunger. Granted, this year they’d shortened the walk to ten miles because of all the construction that was going on.

But that didn’t matter: the point was that I was really doing it. I’d waited for a while to register because I thought some other people might join me.

I had only two weeks to reach at least a $500 goal. A few people kinda snickered at first. Others said, “Sure.” Eventually, the ones who snickered realized I was serious, got on the bandwagon and helped me make some pledges so I could reach my goal. I’m proud to say I did it and actually went a wee bit over, which was awesome for the length of time I did it in.

When the day of the walk came, I didn’t know what to expect. I called my friend Joe who’s a vendor at Spare Change News and who was also going to be a volunteer at the walk this year. He’d done the walk numerous times before. I met up with him in Central Square and we headed off to the Common together.

Once there, we were both directed to where we needed to go and went our separate ways. I registered at the tent, picked up my sign and walked around, as I had lots of time.

Channel 7 was there handing out Band-Aids, which I thought was rather awesome. A couple of tents down, Ms. Kim Khazei and her team were setting up, and everywhere you turned, people were taking pictures, which will be posted on the website.

I saw a few people I hadn’t seen in a while, which was a welcome sight. For one of them, this was her second walk. The other, like me, was walking for the first and she, too, wasn’t sure why she’d never done it before.

As I walked around, I decided I’d let them take my picture. Yep, that’s right, I had my picture taken with my Spare Change News cap on.

Also, you couldn’t help but see the archway with all the balloons around it, which, at first, I mistook for the starting line. Then, all the runners for the 5k, the first one ever for the Walk for Hunger, started coming in. That’s when I realized that this was the finish line. That meant I had to hurry up and go find the starting line.

We were allowed to start early if we wanted to, so I started at about quarter of nine. The first couple of miles weren’t too bad, even if they did go up and down some inclines. I had been given some terrific advice from friends: go steady at an even pace and don’t rush. The finish line, they said, would be there when you get there: take your time.

Well, I’ve always been a walker, but I’d stepped up my game, as my friend Toni would say, or so I thought. But believe you me: boy, was I wrong! Some teenagers behind me started out singing and dancing, but halfway through, when I passed them, only two of them were still singing. I laughed at that.

People will ask you what your reason and motivation was. Mine, like everyone’s, was a personal one. I’ve had to use food pantries in the past, having fallen on hard times after I lost my job. Before I could get my feet under me, I had to have surgery, which caused me to lose my apartment, and I ended up in a shelter for a bit.

When I received housing, I still needed to visit food pantries. So, yes, every once in a while, people need a helping hand. And if I can help out by doing the walk and getting people to sponsor me, well then, hey, that’s what I’ll do.

Thank you, Project Bread. This is an awesome thing you do.

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