The Andover Townsman
---- — Members of Chinmaya Mission Boston in Andover are gearing up for their annual trek for Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger fundraiser on Sunday, May 4.
Walk for Hunger is a major event at Chinmaya, which pursues service to society as its chief mission. Last year, more than 350 walkers ranging in age from 2 to 70 formed the Chinmaya team and raised $29,028, making it the third-highest fundraising team at the event. One of the team’s leaders, Akshay Vaishnaw, raised $5,740, the seventh highest total raised by an individual overall.
Volunteers at Chinmaya have been busy every Sunday registering walkers for this year’s event. Team T-shirts are being sold and children and parents are collecting contributions.
The Chinmaya team started in 2007, when Rathna and Shankar Reddy felt the need to reinforce the message of “selfless service” with a broadly participatory community activity. It launched with eight friends raising a coupe hundred dollars.
Rathna Reddy, who continues as team captain, said in a release that the effort has now grown every year with the help of Chinmaya families and their friends working together to help people in need in the community.
“We believe it is the best way to live out core Hindu values of unity and service to the disadvantaged,” Rathna Reddy said.
Last year, two 6-year-olds, Shuban Bala and Pranav Chivukula, joined 14 other youngsters under the age of 10 in walking all 20 miles. Seven children raised more than $500 each, with Amolina Bhat bringing in $1,730 herself.
Walk for Hunger, considered the oldest continual pledge walk in the country, is dedicated to alleviating local hunger. Last year, more than 30,000 participants walking along the 20-mile route raised over $3.1 million to help 750,000 people, most of them children, the sick and the elderly. This year’s fundraising goal is $3.5 million.
One Chinmaya mother, Sujatha Thiruvengadathan, said her family wouldn’t miss the Walk for Hunger for anything.
“It combines a day of family fun, a noble cause, exercise in fresh air, a sense of community like at the marathon,” she said. “Where else can you so easily have kids experience the joy of doing something truly worthwhile, as a whole family together?”
Chinmaya Mission Boston is located at 1 Union St. Andover. It is part of a global, spiritual organization that aims to teach individuals about the philosophical basis of Hinduism, and encourages them to make a positive contribution to society.
To join the Chinmaya Walkers’ Walk for Hunger team or to make a donation, visit http://support.projectbread.org/goto/ChinmayaWalkers.