Monday, May 04, 2009

Walking for Hunger

Every first Sunday in May, Boston is host to a twenty mile walk in order to raise funding for Project Bread, which sources food banks and shelters in Massachusetts with food and dollars for their programs. There has been a significant upsurge in usage of food banks and community meals, in these economic times.

So, although my congregation is supportive of the event, and even is the half-way check point of the walk, we typically don't have but more than two or three walkers. Our biggest fundraising walker--who usually raises at least 2,000 in pledges, was unable to participate because of a foot injury.

I was not going to let this go. So, I shamelessly canvassed the congregation to support "Team Eliot" by sending emails from our listserve. If no one could walk, then I think that supporting it was essential. They didn't dissapoint! And, four other walkers joined me--although only two of us walked together.

We started downtown at the Boston Common, around 7:30 a.m. and got to Eliot right before church started. (ten miles) We had a great time talking, and my walking buddy also snagged a slice of pizza in Newton Centre, just sitting out on the sidewalk in front of Bill's Pizza, hot and juicy. Half-way up the block, we heard someone saying $2! $2! What we thought was such a generous gesture of support for walkers, was actually lunch being sold outside!

At Eliot, we stopped in and said hello. My walking buddy then went back up Centre Street to visit with a friend of hers who was volunteering for the event. Most people walk about half of the walk. It's the solidarity that counts.

I hung out a while, at church, and then thought to myself, hey, the first ten miles walking was pretty manageable. I feel pretty good. So, I decided to walk the rest of the walk.

Oh my. I supposed if I had treated it like a leisurely stroll along the Charles river, and stopped to enjoy the view, eat lunch, etc., my legs and feet wouldn't have turned to jelly by mile 16. But no, I just wanted to get the thing over, and powered to the finish before 1:00 pm. I averaged 4 miles/hour--which I think is good for walking.

Wow. By the time I made it to the T, and my beloved picked me up at my home station, I could barely walk at any pace! My knees felt like they would give out, my hips were sore, and I learned that there are muscles that I have never used in the front of my quads. All I can say is that I am very grateful for Advil, and for our hot tub.

However, as I pushed myself to finish, in spite of being miserable, and not sure if I could really finish, I kept thinking of all the people in the world who have to walk at least ten miles to get safe drinking water--daily--(just google Water for People) I thought, this is really important. I am walking--with people cheering, offering snacks, fruit, and water. Many people walk--just for survival. I may not know what that is like...but at least my feet and body have had the experience of walking twenty miles. At least I know what that part feels like. It is a helluva distance--to go to GET water.

So. I am glad that I made myself do this.
There are so many in our world that live so much closer to the earth and to survival...whether in cities, or in the deserts of another continent. It is just good to be reminded of that in a visceral way--and to continue to chip at doing my part with the riches I have to offer.



Purple said...

Congratulations...4 mph...way to go! And for all the right reasons.

Mary Beth said...

Great for you!!!!