SARASOTA, FL – On March 26, All Faiths Food Bank held its annual Walk to End Summer Hunger, the kick-off event for the 10th annual Campaign Against Summer Hunger, which supports efforts to feed area schoolchildren – and their siblings – when they do not have access to free or reduced-cost meals and pantries at school. The Walk is intended to raise awareness of the issue of child hunger as well as rally support for the Campaign.
This year’s event, which took place at Nathan Benderson Park, featured a 1-mile “fun walk” and a 5K walk. The capacity for the event was reached: more than 500 community members participated along with All Faiths staff, board members, and dedicated volunteers.
After check-in and light refreshments, participants were welcomed by All Faiths Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank, and then 2023 Campaign co-chairs Clare Segall and Lisa Keverian-Press encouraged everyone to stay involved in the effort to end hunger for area children. They also announced that $900,000 had been raised from investors – including steadfast lead investors Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and Gulf Coast Community Foundation – to serve as a match for all donations made by the community. CoreSRQ Fitness Manager Eric Hoskins warmed up the crowd and then the Walk began.
Nearly 50% of Sarasota County and 100% of DeSoto County students rely on free and reduced-cost meals at school. The summer months can be especially difficult for the children of families struggling to put food on the table, as they lose access to these meals as well as school pantries that provide nutritional assistance during the school year.
Prior to April 1, Campaign investors contribute matching funds; from April 1-May 15, All Faiths runs the community fundraising effort. Last year, approximately $2 million was raised. With this support, All Faiths was able to provide more than 35,000 students and siblings nearly 2.5 million nutritious meals, through 333 programs and partners.
“While summertime should be a wonderful time for area children and their families, there are approximately 40,000 children in our community who are at risk of hunger this summer,” said Frank. “We are thrilled with the turnout for the Walk to End Summer Hunger, grateful to the Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and all of our investors for the generous match, and hopeful that our generous community will – once again – step up in the fight to end child hunger.”
Since 2014, All Faiths Food Bank’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger has served as the community’s strongest line of defense against child hunger. More than $14 million has been raised over the past decade in support of the Campaign.
To learn how you can help feed children this summer, visit allfaithsfoodbank.org.
About All Faiths Food Bank
All Faiths Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties, providing millions of meals each year in collaboration with 480 programs and partner agencies throughout the community. All Faiths works not only to end hunger today but also strives to end hunger – forever – by helping families and individuals gain long-term food security, enjoy better health outcomes, and achieve self-sufficiency. All Faiths is rated 4 stars by Charity Navigator and is a member of the Feeding America and Feeding Florida networks. For more information, visit allfaithsfoodbank.org.