Weekly Feature



2018-07-05 / Lifestyles

WALK OFF HUNGER

Walkathon to help feed families nutritious meals
by HOLLY N. LIPKA

Participants walk in last year’s Walk Off Hunger. The event raises money for the Food Bank of WNY. From left are Mindy Xander and Kellen, Kaylee and Willis Solecki. color File photo by Kathleen Kramer. Purchase photos at www.BeeNews.comParticipants walk in last year’s Walk Off Hunger. The event raises money for the Food Bank of WNY. From left are Mindy Xander and Kellen, Kaylee and Willis Solecki. color File photo by Kathleen Kramer. Purchase photos at www.BeeNews.com
According to the Food Bank of Western New York, one in five children in WNY is food insecure, meaning their families don’t have enough money to feed them nutritious food. Many of these children rely on their school’s free or reduced-price meal program.

When summer vacation comes, their families often turn to the

Food Bank of Western

New York for assistance.

At the same time, the number of people donating to the

Food Bank begins to decline. “People are busy or are on vacation during the summer months and, as the amount of donations goes down, the need actually goes up,” said Bruce Corris, Walk Off Hunger committee member.

For that reason, Temple Beth Am, now Congregation Shir Shalom in Amherst, and the Food

Bank established an annual summer fundraiser called Walk Off

Hunger, a 1.9- mile walk and festival.

Since the first walk in 2007, proceeds from the event helped to provide 3.4 million meals to those in need. This year’s walk, which is presented by Life Storage and hosted by Calvary Episcopal Church and Congregation Shir Shalom, will be held from 10 a. m. to 2 p. m. Saturday, July 28, at Island Park in Williamsville.

“It’s really inspiring to know that by taking those steps, you are making an incredible difference right here in Western New York,” said Catherine

Shick, public and community relations manager of the Food Bank.

“Every dollar helps provide six meals, so when you give to the Food Bank, your dollar is going very far.”

Children at last year’s Walk Off Hunger scale the rock climbing wall.Children at last year’s Walk Off Hunger scale the rock climbing wall.
Every month, the Food Bank serves as many as 140,000 individuals in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua,

Erie and Niagara counties.

Shick said not all of these individuals are unemployed.

“There are misconceptions that people who need food assistance don’t work or are cheating the system, and that is just not the case,” said Shick.

“So many of the people that are assisted by the Food Bank and our agencies are working families, juggling often multiple jobs trying to make ends meet.”

Corris added that “hunger doesn’t stop at the city line.”

“People think the Food Bank is only helping people in the City [of

Buffalo,] but you could be living out in Clarence and not know that the family two doors down from you is getting assistance from the Food Bank,” he said.

“Even in Williamsville where our walk is, I know there will be families who live near the route of the walk or on the route of the walk that get food assistance.”

Corris himself needed food assistance at one point in his life.

“I’ve been unemployed, I’ve been underemployed and I know many professionals just like me who were out of work. It was a struggle.”

Years later and now working as a chief operating officer for Market

Domination L. L. C. in

Williamsville, he said he is “more proud of being a part of Walk Off

Hunger than anything else” in his life.

On the day of the event, check- in and registration will begin at 10 a. m., with the walk starting at 11 a. m. Parking will be available at Williamsville South High School, 5950 Main St. There will be a shuttle bus to take attendees to and from the event, running from 9: 30 a. m. to 2: 30 p. m.

After the walk, walkers can enjoy children’s activities, music, bounce houses, a climbing wall, raffles, food and refreshments, which are all included in the price of registration. Participants can also enter for a chance to win a

$2,000 AAA gift card, donated by

AAA of Western and Central New

York and Lil’ Jenny’s Ice Cream.

The Williamsville Farmers Market will be occurring simultaneously next to the festival in the parking lot between the

Williamsville Library, 5571 Main

St., and the Amherst Municipal

Building, 5583 Main St. The market will feature 35 vendors and will be open from 8 a. m. to 1 p. m.

Registration for the walk is $25 per person or free for children ages 16 and younger. To donate or register, visit www.food bankwny.org and search “Walk Off Hunger.”

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