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June 14, 2021
 
Project Bread Raises $1M in Second Consecutive Virtual Walk
Project Bread

May 4, 2021 — Project Bread a Boston-based nonprofit, the only statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts, yesterday announced that its Walk for Hunger, held virtually on Sunday for the second consecutive year due to the coronavirus crisis, raised $1,067,000.

Project Bread said fundraising for the event, which drew 1,500 participants will continue through June 30.

Last year’s virtual event raised $1.3 million from1,650 people who registered to participate, including $1 million raised through the day of the walk.

“As the pandemic continues to take a financial toll on people and entire communities, we must do everything we can to help the one in six households struggling to afford food,” said Erin McAleer, CEO of Project Bread. “Participating in Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger is one way we can all do something real 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 it is especially important.”

Money raised through the virtual event will fund Project Bread’s urgent COVID-19 hunger-relief response work by helping individuals and families and advocating at the state and federal levels for expedited and efficient relief for those in need now and in the future.

“Without our walk participants, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” said McAleer. “The Walk for Hunger is our largest annual fundraiser. Money raised by Walk participants goes directly to helping people access food during the pandemic and ensures communities have the resources necessary to respond to the hunger crisis now and over the long road to recovery ahead.

In addition to funds raised via the Walk for Hunger, 28 nonprofits participated in Project Bread’s Commonwealth program; forming teams that raised $165,000 so far to support their own anti-hunger work, while also furthering the statewide effort.

Historically, the Walk for Hunger, the nation’s oldest continual pledge walk—first held in 1969—takes place the first Sunday of May on the Boston Common. This year’s event included Facebook Live check-ins throughout the day.

Social media connected participants, including families and teams of corporate employees, many of whom hadn’t seen each other in more than a year.

“The people of Massachusetts showed up in a big way even during a pandemic,” said McAleer. “From hosting virtual auctions, to doing family fitness challenges and co-worker relay races, to running alpaca photo booths and walking their own routes, people found a way to raise awareness and money to help those who need it most. Their efforts speak to the potential we have as a community working together to drive change and that is a message that resonates with everyone.”

Also participating alongside Project Bread employees, individual walkers, and volunteers were elected officials, including Sen. Sal DiDomenico and State Rep Andy Vargas.

During the past year, food insecurity in Massachusetts doubled, according to Project Bread—from 8.4% of households to 16.5% in September 2020—bringing correspondingly higher demand on the organization. For example, Project Bread delivered 28.3 million free meals to children at sites it supported.

“Food insecurity, along with several other hardships are rooted in poverty, which in turn are deeply entrenched in systemic and structural racism, ethnic and gender inequity, and disproportional distribution of income and wealth built into the political economy of the Commonwealth – a reflection of the country’s dynamics,” Project Bread noted in its 2020 report on the state of hunger in Massachusetts.

“To change the system, we need to advance policies that address these root causes, while investing in and improving outreach for safety-net programs, which are the best, though not a complete solution for rapidly responding to these realities.”

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