Thousands gather for 26th annual Hunger Walk

June 25, 2011 7:06:27 AM PDT
Approximately 7,000 people were expected to gather at Soldier Field Saturday to help fight hunger.

The 26th annual 5K Hunger Walk kicked off at 8:15 a.m.

The 5K Hunger Walk is the largest one-day anti-hunger event in Chicago. Approximately, 7,000 walkers were expected to take place in the 3.2-mile course. Ten minutes after the walk began, some participants were still crossing the start line.

Walkers were headed south along the lakefront and turning back at 31st Street, in the annual event meant to raise funds and awareness for the Greater Chicago Food Depository's network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in Cook County.

"It's amazing how many people are hungry, and it's all the growth in need for food. When we go down to the depository, you never know what job you're going to do. Sometimes you're sorting oranges or we did bread the last time, repackaging to put out to the centers," said volunteer Dawn Butler.

"The Hunger Walk is an opportunity for fund raising for small community organizations, and for many of them, they're able to provide food for their communities the entire year -- and it is a year-round problem that we face with hunger --- through the hunger walk. So, it's critically important for especially, small organizations to continue to feed their neighbors and provide for those communities," said Bob Dolgan of the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Participants could enjoy face painting, caricature artists and live entertainment.

Organizers said they hoped to raise about $500,000 as a result of Saturday's event, and in fact, they said they might break a record in attendance, partly because Saturday was such a great day for a walk.

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