In the weeks and days leading up to the annual Hunger Walk/Run, our office at the Atlanta Community Food Bank was buzzing with activity. Between printing race packets, conducting press interviews and loading the trucks full of materials, this year’s Hunger Walk/Run was an all-hands-on-deck project that required nearly a full year of preparation. Our organization is privileged to have many veteran employees who have experienced the huge growth of the Hunger Walk/Run over the years. But we also have a number of new employees, who were overjoyed to get to work on an organization-wide event that brings all of our departments together.
For both of us who were hired earlier this year as members of the Communications & Marketing Department, being able to serve at the Hunger Walk/Run was validation. We were able to see how the organization we joined comes together as one unit to impact the lives of others in our community. There are so many people who have a hand in making the day spectacular.
Here is a glimpse of the impact the event had on others who worked behind-the-scenes to make the Hunger Walk/Run come to life. Each of these employees are “newbies” at the Food Bank and described the day, in their own words, as incredible!
“Thousands of people united by the commonality of caring, cool dudes on stilts and Atlanta's top food trucks? Hello... Triple Win! Can't wait to fight hunger on the run again next year!” Gina, Volunteer Services
"As a first time participant in the annual Hunger Walk/Run, I was incredibly impressed and humbled by all the hard work that goes into planning an event of this magnitude and then witnessing the joy it brought to so many people who came together for a great cause." -Helen, Business Services
“I loved getting to know our volunteers from Duluth High School, who joined us for their second year as Walk Marshalls. It was beautiful to see how excited they were to encourage our walkers and runners. There was more than one breakout of dancing, DJ'd by a number of our talented street musicians!”-Sarah, Community Gardens
“The Hunger Walk/Run was amazing, but my favorite thing was realizing it was a day where everyone was welcome and we all came together for one common cause, fighting hunger. Seeing all those people come together made all the craziness, hard work and stress totally worth it.”-Cynthia, “Cindy”, Volunteer Services
“The Hunger Walk/Run was definitely an EPIC and LIVE experience that I didn't want to miss. I can't wait till next year.” Tesfa, Operations
“I had the pleasure of working in registration, and I have to say that the number of people who came out and joined us because of their passion for ending hunger is astonishing. People were smiling, laughing, and having a great time! A good number of people waited to register until the last minute because of the weather, but as soon as they saw that it wasn't raining they came out en masse. It was pretty fantastic.” Kiersten, Volunteer Services
“My first Hunger Walk/Run was an incredible experience. I had the pleasure of working in the Champions Club tent and getting to speak with so many participants that are so passionate and have worked so hard to fundraise to fight hunger in our community was truly moving.” Katherine, Individual Giving
“Hunger Walk/Run 2016 again reminded me of how glad I am to work for an organization that so greatly impacts the community. It was wonderful to speak to kids and their parents about food insecurity and to have them candidly share how the scenarios in our “Feast or Famine” board game mirrored their own lives. One of my favorite parts was seeing even little kids express themselves in different ways and "chalking" about their experience.”-Jasmine, Education & Outreach
As members of the Communications team, we were both able to interact with several different groups who helped ensure the day was a success, including our wonderful media hosts, 11Alive’s Brenda Wood and John Michaels from 92.9 the Game. They each arrived at the event enthusiastic to do their part to pump up the crowd and help to tell the Food Bank’s story of partnership and collaboration to end hunger in Metro Atlanta & North Georgia.
Another highlight was interacting with the Champions Club members — passionate women and men who raised more than $500 for the race to benefit six local hunger relief organizations. Our top Champion, Sally Kaplan, is a remarkable woman. Her family has participated in the Hunger Walk/Run since the very early years, raising funds for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. This year she raised more than $26,000 and said that her commitment to helping others is simply “in my blood.” Stories like Mrs. Kaplan’s highlight the passion of all our volunteers and donors who help make our mission come to life.
We can’t wait until next year’s HWR, and will be overjoyed to bring even more new staff to the event! Planning has already started for the 2017 Hunger Walk/Run, but there’s still time to donate to our 2016 teams to help us reach our fundraising goals. To find out how & learn more about our biggest fundraiser, click here.