Marie Antoinette lost a head not too long after she allegedly offered, “Let them eat cake” as a suggestion to hungry Parisians with no bread. While there are still plenty of people making ignorant remarks these days, very few of them are French princesses. Progress!
Still, hunger isn’t just an 18th-century problem. In fact, reports as recent as 2009 say more than a half a million Massachusetts residents have had trouble putting food on the table. Luckily, the state’s got a nonprofit advocate, Project Bread, that’s been battling this issue for the last five decades.
In 1969, Patrick Hughes led a group of activists on Project Bread’s first Walk for Hunger from the Paulist Center, covering nearly 30 miles and raising more than $25,000 with only 2000 participants. Since that historic trek, the march was reduced to a more realistic (but still arduous) 20 miles, and participants have multiplied to 40,000.
As for money raised? Think millions.
The global economic collapse absolutely affected fundraising last year, and “times are still tough and a lot of people are suffering in silence,” says Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread. “The funds raised by the Walk for Hunger go directly to purchase emergency food for hungry people in our neighborhoods and hometowns. And our 40,000 Walkers send a strong message that we are all in this together.”
This year’s Walk will take place Sunday, May 2, and will span Brookline, Newton, Watertown, and Cambridge. Participants need not commit to the whole trek and can, in fact, get free access to the T to access Walk locations. Registration is from 7 to 9 am on the Boston Common. For more information, call 617.723.5000 or visit projectbread.org.