On May 7, Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services will be among over 3,000 participants to lace up for Project Bread’s 55th annual Walk for Hunger. For the 2nd consecutive year, the Somerville-based nonprofit will raise money to fight hunger.
SCES is participating in the Commonwealth Program, which gives organizations addressing food insecurity 60% of all funds they have raised to support their own hunger relief programs, with the remaining 40% applied to Project Bread’s statewide anti-hunger effort. Last year, Project Bread awarded nearly $2,000 to Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services.
Beginning in 1969, as the first pledge walk in the nation, Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger brings together a diverse community dedicated to creating change. On Sunday May 7th, the annual fundraiser returns to Boston Common after 3 years of being virtual due to COVID-19 safety precautions. This rite of passage for people in Massachusetts returns in its 55th year with a shorter route and a fresh look. The mission of the time-honored tradition will never change. The fundraising goal this year is over $1 million dollars.
“Right now, 1 in every 5 households with children in Massachusetts is struggling without enough to eat,” according to Erin McAleer, CEO of statewide anti-hunger organization Project Bread. She notes the number of families with children unable to afford food among Black, brown, and immigrant households, it’s disproportionately higher. “Hunger in Massachusetts is simply unacceptable,” McAleer says. “This is a solvable problem but every single one of us needs to do our part. We all must take action. The work Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services does reflects what The Walk is all about—stepping up to benefit our friends, neighbors, and family members in Massachusetts who cannot meet the most basic of human needs: food. The Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services walk team understands hunger is an injustice and they are doing something about it. That is powerful.”
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services serves more than 4,000 older adults and people with disabilities in Somerville and Cambridge each year. By providing Meals on Wheels, congregate meals, home care, elder care advice and guidance, the organization helps these groups maintain independence in their own homes.
In addition to participating in the Walk for Hunger, the agency is hosting a fitness challenge to give flexibility to participants. This includes setting personal fitness goals and following them through, which will coincide with the walkers that will be on the Boston Common this year. The nonprofit hopes to raise $3,000 to support congregate meals, which provide socialization and food security for older adults.
“With extended SNAP benefits ending, demand for food will go up,” says Nathan Lamb, Director of Outreach and Community Relations for Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services. “Malnutrition is a huge challenge for older adults. A lot of people we serve would be food insecure without our programs. Nutrition is a big part maintaining independence.”
Money raised through the Walk for Hunger is critical to Project Bread’s statewide work to ensure kids reliably have enough to eat, provide one-on-one support for individuals and families who need food assistance, and work to prevent hunger in the first place by eliminating barriers to resources and implementing policies that make food more accessible. In keeping with the community-spirit of the event, the Walk also provides a platform for organizations, like Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services, to fund the vital work they do fighting hunger locally. The Commonwealth, a joint fundraising program, Project Bread launched in 2019. In 2022, 36 nonprofits raised more than $123,000 to support their own programs.
This year’s event will include remarks by McAleer as well as family-friendly activations on the Boston Common, such as live music, photo booths, giveaways and raffle prizes, lawn games, and a Kids’ Zone with balloon animals and face painting. Families with kids, community groups, individuals, and teams of corporate employees are encouraged to find creative ways to fundraise and join us on Boston Common for the new 3-mile route and for an exciting day of celebration. Project Bread will continue to engage virtual participants this year, inviting anyone interested to register and walk their own way from wherever they are.
To register as a participant for Project Bread’s The Walk for Hunger, or to support a walker or team with a donation, visit projectbread.org/walk or call (617) 723-5000.There is no registration fee or fundraising minimum to participate. Participants who raise $500 or more are recognized as Heart & Sole walkers, and receive access to personalized fundraising support, exclusive event gear, and invitations to events.
People experiencing food insecurity should call into Project Bread’s toll-free FoodSource Hotline (1-800-645-8333), which provides confidential assistance to connect with food resources, including SNAP benefits, in 180 languages and for the hearing impaired. For more information, visit: www.projectbread.org/get-help.
About Project Bread
Project Bread is the leading statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts. Beginning in 1969 with the first Walk for Hunger, the nonprofit focuses on driving systemic change to ensure people of all ages have reliable access to healthy food. Project Bread works collaboratively across sectors to create innovative solutions to end hunger and improve lives across the Commonwealth. For more information, visit: www.projectbread.org.
About Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services is a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older adults in Somerville and Cambridge. For free advice and guidance on questions of aging, caregiving or disability, contact our Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website eldercare.org.