The 30th annual Good Friday Walk will be held on April 18 and, in celebration of the anniversaries of both Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry and the Good Friday Walk, our goal this year is to raise $30,000.

This is a nondenominational event that supports two important charities: Loaves & Fishes, the largest food pantry in North Central Massachusetts, and Sharing Inc., which helps impoverished youth in the rural South. We need your help, either as a walker, a volunteer or a sponsor. The more money we raise, the more you help others. For example, if you raise $100, Loaves & Fishes can buy more than 400 pounds of food at the Greater Boston Food Bank.

The Good Friday Walk starts at the Harvard Congregational Church, right on Route 110 at Harvard Common, and follows a scenic 5-mile loop. Walkers can register anytime from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and can walk as far as they like. With just a little physical effort, you can make a huge difference in the lives of your neighbors in need.

More than 30 percent of our clients are children or seniors. During the past year, 968 families received food from Loaves & Fishes, averaging about 81 pounds of food per family per visit. Some of this food is donated, but a lot comes from the Greater Boston Food Bank. But we do have to purchase food -- more than $125,000 worth -- so having a successful Good Friday Walk is really important to our community.

Donations to the pantry continue to shrink, but the demand for our services continues to grow.


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We never turn away people from our area who need food. Last year, more than 300 people participated in the Good Friday Walk and raised $29,000. Please help us make our goal of $30,000 this year to celebrate the 30th anniversaries of Loaves & Fishes and the Good Friday Walk.

Form a team to raise money and do the walk -- teams from work, church, your civic group, your family and your friends. If you're a teacher or school administrator, recruit students to walk and raise money, or to help in the kitchen or at the registration table. They'll have fun and earn community-service credits, too. Ask everyone you know to "Give Till It Helps." Most of the money raised will go to purchase food and personal care items for Loaves & Fishes clients from Harvard, Groton, Shirley, Ayer, Littleton and Devens, while a small portion will continue to go to Sharing Inc. Each walker who raises $100 or more will get a free T-shirt, too!

How do you get started? If you're walking, pick up a sponsor sheet today at your local church or library, or download it at loavesfishespantry.org. Then gather as many contributions as you can. Each walker is asked to raise a minimum of $25 to participate. On the day of the walk, total your contributions and bring them, along with your sponsor sheet, to the registration desk at the Harvard Congregational Church to receive a walker number, map and, if you've raised more than $100, a Good Friday Walk T-shirt. No one under the age of 18 can walk without a parent or guardian's signature; walkers under age 12 must have adult supervision. No bicycles, roller blades, scooters or skateboards are allowed because they can be dangerous to the walkers. If you want to volunteer in the kitchen or at the registration desk or have any questions about the walk, contact either Jeanie Colony at 978-456-1239 or jecolony@charter.net, or Becca Day-Newsham at 978-456-8717 or newsha@aol.com.

The Good Friday Walk is the biggest ongoing fundraising event for Loaves & Fishes, and it's critical to the pantry that the walk be successful. The people we serve are your neighbors, and they need your help. Thank you for making this year's Good Friday Walk a success!