Just about every weekend in the summer in Western New York there’s a walk, or a race, or a bike ride to raise money for a good cause.
Research for a cure for a disease. Assist a family in need. Help an organization that helps many people.
And most of the people who take part do so because they have a personal connection to the cause.
A loved one died of the disease or is suffering from it. They know the family that needs help. Or they were helped by the organization.
That’s why I walked the Hospice Walk this year. Last year they made my father’s final weeks as easy as possible for him and for our family.
I’m also involved in another walk, and have been for years.
On Saturday, hundreds of people will take part in the 8th annual Walk Off Hunger for the Food Bank of Western New York.
I’m proud to have been involved in that walk from the very beginning. I’m proud that our efforts have raised enough money to provide nearly two million meals for Western New Yorkers in need.
Most of the people who participate in this walk do it because it’s a good cause, not because they have a personal connection.
At least, not that they know of.
But the Food Bank helps more than 115,000 people every month in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. That’s a good-sized percentage of the total population in those four counties.
The people being helped just might include one of your friends.
Or a neighbor.
Or your child’s best friend.
It doesn’t matter where you live. City or suburbs, the Food Bank helps people in every zip code in those four counties. Even the highest-income ones.
Walk Off Hunger is held in Williamsville. And people living nearby are among those being helped by the money it raises.
The Food Bank doesn’t just help people who are out of work. Many of the families getting assistance have two incomes or more. Many Western New Yorkers work more than one job, but just can’t pay all their bills.
Every day, families in our area choose food for their children over paying a bill.
Those children are the main reason we started Walk Off Hunger. Many Western New York children get free lunches or breakfasts or both at their school.
In the summer, there’s no school. That means no school lunch program.
So the need for the Food Bank’s services goes up. And it’s a time of year when donations go down.
Every dollar that goes to the Food Bank stays right here in Western New York. And it goes far. Every dollar will produce about five meals.
And some of those meals may end up on your street. Maybe even next door.
It’s heartwarming to see how generous Western New Yorkers are in supporting so many worthwhile causes.
When we have that personal connection to a cause, we walk. We ride. We give.
You may not think you have that personal connection to hunger in Western New York.
But chances are, you do.
So if you aren’t doing anything Saturday, please consider walking the walk for the Food Bank.
Someone close to you just might appreciate it.