EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 2, 2014

Hundreds from Valley join Sunday's Walk for Hunger

Dozens of Haverhill people join effort to help the needy

More than 60 people from Haverhill, along with hundreds from Lawrence, Methuen and the Andovers, will descend on Boston this weekend for the Project Bread walk to raise money for hungry people.

For some, it will be a new experience, but for many the walk has become a tradition.

A team from Haverhill’s Emmaus Inc. homeless shelters led by Gretchen Artnz, chief development officer for Emmaus, will be in this year’s walk. Emmaus staff and volunteers have participated in past walks as well.

Team “Walk to Emmaus” has a few newcomers this year, including AmeriCorps/Vista volunteers Alexandra Elwell and Gabriella Berger.

“It’s an amazing cause,” Elwell said about Sunday’s 20-mile walk. “Project Bread supports Emmaus, so we want to support Project Bread.”

The 46th annual Walk for Hunger begins and ends at Boston Common. The walk route weaves through Boston, Brookline, Newton, Watertown and Cambridge. Local entertainment and water stops will help keep the walkers going throughout the day and educational elements will help walkers learn more about the lack of food available to needy people and the range of solutions.

About 40,000 people are expected to take part in the walk, including the Chinmaya Walkers team from Andover, which has about 350 members ranging in age from 4 to more than 70. They raised $29,000 last year and, as of May 1, had raised $27,000 in pledges and donations for this year’s walk.

They were the third-largest group participating last year and included 16 children under the age of 10 who walked the entire 20 miles. The team has participated in the walk since 2007.

“There’s a lot of internal excitement, with team members selling T-shirts and children collecting pledges,” said team member Dilip Mathur of Lexington. “Last year, one child raised $1,700.”

The Chinmaya Walkers team represents the members of Chinmaya Mission Boston, located at 1 Union St., Andover, and their families and friends. Chinmaya Mission is a global spiritual organization which aims to teach people about the philosophical basis of Hinduism, and encourages them to make a positive contribution to society.

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