Saturday, Nov 7, 2015
The 2015 Hunger Walk was a great success. Over $5,500.00 raised for the Pantry. If you couldn’t attend, make plans for next year’s annual event.
(photos by Amy Wike)
Hickory Daily Record
Posted: Friday, November 6, 2015 1:22 am
By Gina Story Special to the Record
HIDDENITE – Several years ago, a group of Alexander County citizens came together as the Hiddenite Community Helpers with the sole purpose of helping parents provide Christmas presents for children in need.
It didn’t take long for the group to realize that their help was needed more than just during the holiday season, but these same families needed help with food year-round. They founded the Hiddenite Food Pantry as a result.
“That has been a big undertaking,” Heather Davis said, who is the public relations secretary for Hiddenite Community Helpers.
The Hiddenite Food Pantry is a 501c3 organization that serves 1,150 people at an average cost of about $2 per person each month. The pantry is staffed by volunteers and has no paid staff. It is open from 4-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The pantry operates on a $2,000 a month budget and includes a community garden that provides fresh vegetables for clients.
“We are totally dependent on individuals, churches and business in our community,” Davis said. “We’re on a month to month basis. We get into panic mode when we get to $1,000 in the bank because we have to keep the lights on.”
In order to help fund the Hiddenite Food Pantry and stock the shelves, Hiddenite Community Helpers have organized an annual HungerWalk. This year’s HungerWalk will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
“This is the biggest fundraiser we have to keep the pantry going,” Davis said. “We have done this the last three years and we’re hoping it’s a lot bigger this year.”
T-shirts were sold for those who wanted to donate to the pantry; the T-shirts also were given to those who pre-registered for the walk. More than 300 T-shirts have been sold.
The past HungerWalks have brought out about 75 walkers and Davis said that she hopes to have between 150-200 people attend the event. In order to help the growth the members of Hiddenite Community Helpers have expanded the event to include food sales and entertainment.
“We want to draw awareness. That’s the reason for the walk, we want them to bring food, bring a bag of non-perishable food items, or monetary donation so hopefully we can be in their minds,” Davis said. “They don’t have to be registered to walk to come. We want everybody to come hang out.”
The walk will leave the Hiddenite Food Pantry, which is located in the Old Hiddenite Fire Department Building, go behind Hiddenite Elementary School, wrap around to Sulfur Springs Road, turn left on church road, and then return to the pantry. In addition to the walk, there will be entertainment provided by Jody Lee Hagar and hot dogs and hamburgers will be sold by the Sparrow’s Nest Ministry.
In addition to raising money for the Hiddenite Pantry, the HungerWalk also will serve as a kick-off for the Alexander County Cares-4 Kids Program sponsored by the Hiddenite Community Helpers. Those who attend the event will be able to take a sheet with a child’s age, favorite colors, favorite characters and toys on them.
“Jody Lee Hager will be launching the Alexander County Cares-4-Kids Program at the HungerWalk,” Davis said. “For Days Like This” is the perfect song he will sing to do that at the HungerWalk.”
Davis and the other organizers hope that this year’s event will be a great success for the community with the added draws of entertainment and food.
“Some people might not come out just for a walk. I think it’s going to draw more people in,” Davis said, adding that Hagar is going to share his testimony during the event. “I’m really excited about it being a success for our people and to be able to be a little part of that and helping them out is just wonderful.”