BY JILL WHALEN
For the past six years, area residents have joined together to help Tamaqua’s needy by participating in annual Hunger Walks and Empty Bowl events.
Those fundraisers won’t happen as they had in the past because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizers won’t turn their backs on those in need.
“Our area food pantries serve between 200 and 300 people,” said Paul Dodson, who organizes the Hunger Walks with the Tamaqua Area Faith Fellowship Network. And with more and more people out of work because of the pandemic, Dodson doesn’t expect those numbers to decrease.
So, along with the Tamaqua Area Community Partnership, TAFFN will once again begin collecting donations for area food banks during the month of October.
“For obvious reasons, we are not collecting food this year,” Dodson noted.
Instead, the groups will collect money through a “virtual” hunger walk.
Dodson said past Hunger Walks typically brought 50 to 60 individuals, who would ask sponsors for support. They’d also bring non-perishable items to the events and stroll around the borough to raise awareness about hunger.
“Sometimes they had money sponsors and sometimes they had food sponsors,” Dodson explained.
With the virtual set-up, participants are being asked to walk on their own during October and seek financial support from family and friends. They are encouraged to record one of their walks and post the video on the TAFFN Facebook page. Walk videos will be assembled into a Virtual Hunger Walk to be webcast in early November.
Dodson said the goal is to have 100 walkers. There’s no monetary goal in mind, he said, because the organization doesn’t know what to expect.
All virtual Hunger Walk participants must be registered in order to collect sponsorships.
To register, or for more information, visit https://www.ziontamaqua.com/virtual-hunger-walk/ or call Dodson at 570-668-0289 or George Taylor at 570-668-4451.
Event sponsorships for the Virtual Hunger Walk are also available at $1,000 for a Gold Sponsor; $500 for a Silver Sponsor and $250 for a Bronze Sponsor. TAFFN is a Gold Sponsor.
Donations from individuals not desiring to do the virtual Hunger Walk or become an event sponsor can be sent to Hunger Walk, c/o TAFFN, 125 Pine St., Tamaqua, PA 18252. Checks should be made out to TAFFN with “2020 Help Hungry” in the memo line.