Walk for Hunger is more than walk in park
of The Current staff
The St. Louis Food Pantry Association's 11th annual Walk for Hunger has expanded. This year the participants may Run, Walk, Rock, or Roll to support their neighborhood food pantry.
The event, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 9, 1999, is the association's largest fund raiser. All the pledges collected stay in the St. Louis Metro Area to support neighborhood food pantries. This year's goal for the event is $75,000.
This year participants can get involved by running a 10K run, walking the 10K path around Forest Park, by rocking in a rocking chair, by rocking and rolling to two different bands or by rolling the 10K path on roller blades, bicycle, wagon, wheelchair. All events begin and end in the Upper Muny parking lot in Forest Park.
Glenn Koenen, secretary of the St. Louis Metro Food Pantry Association, said that the changes in this year's event were made to get more people involved and make it more of a family event.
"It's easier to collect food than it is to collect money," Koenen said, "but pantries need money to pay the bills and subsidize donations with such items as eggs, milk, bread etc. so that families can have a balanced meal."
Koenen said that pantries have become a safety net for families as government programs cut back. "We used to be an emergency fallback for families in transition but now we are seeing more structural poverty from families that are employed and need us every month to remain stable."
Betty Chitwood, campus minister at U.M. St. Louis, also works to feed the poor.
"Without these pantries there would be people tonight with no food on their plates," Chitwood said, "They provide meals for thousands of families in St. Louis."
Koenen said that the 425 independent neighborhood food pantries provide for 300,000 people in the metro area.
Run, Walk, Rock or Roll pledge sheets are available from participating food pantries, Imo's Pizza locations and Schnucks grocery stores.