Students, faculty to make strides combatting hunger

Eileen M. Rafferty

Beginning at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and looping around the River Drives, hundreds to thousands of people will unite to walk in the seventh annual Walk Against Hunger this weekend.

“It’s really great walking alongside people of all races, classes and community organizations to fight hunger on the front line,” Dr. Suzanne Toton of the Peace and Justice Department said.

“Just because we are in the suburbs doesn’t mean we’re immune to this problem.”

The Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, which sponsors the walk, runs 100 soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters which help the poor and hungry. The walk is their only fundraising event.

Sophomore Victoria Maguire, excited to participate in the event, said, “Hunger is a very serious issue, one that is often overlooked.”

“To pay for the war, government programs have been cut back, but this problem isn’t going to go away until people earn a living wage. $5.15 won’t put food on the table,” said Toton.

“We are the richest, most powerful nation in this world. We can fight hunger. And we should take care of our own first.”

The walk became a University event several years ago when Karen Wilson, director of the Philadelphia Coalition, spoke to one of Toton’s classes about hunger in Philadelphia. She mentioned the walk, and the class immediately became interested. Since then, the number of University participants has grown to fill over three buses.

“The main reason the walk continues to grow is because the money raised stays within the community,” Wilson said.

She also mentioned a new addition to this year’s event. “The Children’s Song,” written by a volunteer in the community, will be sung by popular gospel singer Tamika Patton.

The University is providing transportation to and from the event. Buses will leave from Pike Lot at 8 a.m. and will return around 1 p.m.

A $10 registration fee will be collected on the bus. Participants may also choose to get sponsors to donate a dollar for each mile walked. Participants may choose to walk two, four or eight miles. The Wildcat and the University jazz band will support the walkers along the way.

The walk is sponsored by Bread for the World, Project Sunshine, The Center for Peace and Justice Education, Campus Ministry and the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils.