ATLANTA (February 14, 2014) - The 30th annual Hunger Walk/Run takes place Sunday, March 9, 2014 at Turner Field's Green Lot. Gates open at Noon and the Walk/Run steps off at 2 p.m. Thousands will hit the streets of Downtown Atlanta to raise awareness and funds in an effort to help those who continue to struggle to feed themselves and their families. With more than 28 percent of Georgia's children living in food insecure homes and the harsh winter metro Atlanta has experienced, the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB) and others are working harder than ever to meet the continued demand for food assistance.
As a race that benefits more than just one nonprofit, Hunger Walk/Run is a beloved tradition for many. The Atlanta Community Food Bank along with five other benefiting partners - Episcopal Charities Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Lutheran Services of Georgia, Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and St. Vincent De Paul Society - have been hard at work recruiting participants and raising funds. From families and individuals to faith groups and corporate teams, this event offers the rare occasion to bring people together from almost every generation, race and religion in metro Atlanta. In the 30 years since the event began, Hunger Walk/Run has raised well over $7 million dollars, including nearly $650,000 last year.
The number of people needing emergency food assistance is still at a critical level with 20 percent of Georgians living in food insecure households according to Feeding America's latest Map the Meal Gap study released in June 2013. That's up slightly from the year prior. In Fiscal Year 2012-2013, the Food Bank distributed more than 45 million pounds of food and grocery products compared to 37 million the prior year.
"Take the Next Step" is the mantra for Hunger Walk/Run 2014 organizers who are serious about recruiting record numbers of participants and raising more funds than ever. "The Hunger Walk/Run is one of our most important fundraisers each year," said Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. "We are working harder than ever along with our partners to meet the need for food assistance that still exists for many in our community. The money raised at this event will help us continue to meet that demand here in metro Atlanta, and work towards expanding the healthful options we provide through our partner agencies."
While "day-of" registration will be available, participants are encouraged to register online at HWR2014.org and invite friends and family to join them at the event or make a donation. The registration fee is $35 for runners, which includes a special moisture-wicking Hunger Walk/Run t-shirt and $25 for walkers, who will receive a cotton Hunger Walk/Run t-shirt, both while supplies last.
Although the Hunger Walk/Run addresses a serious issue, it doesn't run short on fun. Participants will be energized by a full scope of activities for kids and adults. Everyone will enjoy interactive fun with the Atlanta Hawks Flight Crew and Unit 21 Engine while watching the roaming members of Opa Circus do incredible stunts. The Atlanta Silverbacks Street Team will be on hand with mascot Socrates. StreetGamz.com will set up an interactive "gaming" bus for all to enjoy for a small fee. The Kids Play Zone will include educational activities such as the Food Bank's life size interactive board game "Feast or Famine" along with inflatables, games, face painting and more. For those who come early enough for lunch, the Arby's "Tasting Truck" will be on hand along with a few food trucks: The Blaxican, The Pup Truck, Nectar, Genki Noodles & Sushi, Yumbii, Ebrick Coffee Room and King of Pops. The food trucks will also be donating a portion of the proceeds to the Food Bank.
"This is a fun and memorable event for everyone," said Michael DeCoursey, Hunger Walk/Run manager. "In addition to the 5K walk and 'fun run,' we're creating a fun, festival atmosphere in the Green Lot to kick off the afternoon. Our stage show will feature DJ-Bigg H and live band Sounds of Essence, as well as Brenda Wood from 11Alive serving as our emcee along with on-air personalities from V103/WAOK and Sports Radio 92.9 The Game. There is so much to do before you even take that first step on the route!"
The event began in 1984 as a grassroots effort created in response to domestic and international hunger issues. The Atlanta Community Food Bank has helped organize the Hunger Walk/Run every year since it began, and in 1988 it became a special project of the Food Bank. Since then, millions of dollars have been raised, helping to feed hundreds of thousands of people who struggle with hunger.
Major sponsors for this year's event include: The Arby's Foundation; AutoTrader.com; Walmart; Hall, Booth, Smith, P.C. and The Coca-Cola Company. For more information on Hunger Walk/Run 2014 visit HWR2014.org, call 404-419-1723, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll see you there!