The Walk for Hunger

Project Bread's Walk for Hunger 2011 logo

Dear readers,

I’m only able to blog about chocolate because of the privilege that has always provided me with enough food to eat. In fact, I’ve always had so much food that I’ve been able to focus attention on a non-essential, luxury food like chocolate. Yet not everyone enjoys such comfortable food security.

The Boy and I will participate in Project Bread’s The Walk for Hunger on May 1st. The 20-mile pledge walk, which has been held in Boston each year since 1969, raises funds for Project Bread’s mission to alleviate local hunger. We feel an urgency to walk now, in particular, as the House budget bill, H.R. 1, threatens to cut vital funding to the United States’ Women, Infants, and Children program, food stamp welfare programs, and international food and health aid organizations. If this bill passes, it will become even more difficult for vulnerable populations to access enough food.

Mark Bittman of the New York Times posted a heartfelt statement against this bill’s attack on access to food just yesterday evening. He writes:

“In 2010, corporate profits grew at their fastest rate since 1950, and we set records in the number of Americans on food stamps. The richest 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all American households combined, the effective tax rate on the nation’s richest people has fallen by about half in the last 20 years…. Meanwhile, roughly 45 million Americans spend a third of their posttax income on food — and still run out monthly — and one in four kids goes to bed hungry at least some of the time.”

Problems of food access hit close to home; the good news is that we can do something to help. According to Project Bread, “In Massachusetts, more than 660,000 people do not have enough food to eat. The Walk for Hunger raises millions of dollars for the 400 emergency food programs that support families in crisis.”

We will walk in memory of our loved ones, Lena Bittenson and Evan Knight Martin, whom we lost in 2010. Many of our fondest memories of food come from experiences we shared with them, from Grandma Lee’s famous split pea soup, tuna croquettes, matzoh ball soup, macaroni and cheese, and latkes, to Evan’s generous candy-sharing, beer can chicken, smoked meats, campground gourmet, and experiments in beer brewing.

Keeping in mind Grandma Lee and Evan’s wordsmithery and/or love of pirates, we have dubbed our team Pirates of the Cantabrigian. We would be grateful if you would consider making a donation to our team, or forwarding this message to others who might be interested. Donations can be made online at our team page, here. Just click “Make a Gift” below the money-meter on the right side of the page, follow the donation instructions, and then watch the treasure multiply. Arrrrrrrr! (All donations go directly to Project Bread.)

Additionally, if you are in the area and would like to join our team and walk with us, you can do so at the link above. The more food-loving donation-generating walkers, the merrier. We’d love to have your company.

We are planning a number of fun jaunts through the Boston area in order to train for “the big one” and cure our hunger over the next month. These include: a walk along the Charles River (where we will visit important historic sites of cupcake consumption); a walk to and through the Mount Auburn Cemetery (how could we justify going right by Sofra Bakery and Cafe without stopping in for a bite?); and a walk around Walden Pond, where Thoreau’s pen found inspiration (and our bellies will find joy with a picnic at Verrill Farm). Our longest training walk will see the realization of one of my long-time walking dreams – we will walk from Cambridge to my parents’ home in the ‘burbs (where of course we will need to fortify with a meal at our favorite Thai joint). Don’t worry, moms, we plan to take the back roads instead of the highway.

We love food and we hate that not everyone has enough. So we’re ready to get moving and do something about it!

With love,



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    Bittersweet Notes is an open source research project on chocolate, culture, and the politics of food. I invite you to join me as I explore the story of chocolate and the life stories of those involved with chocolate at its many stages of production and consumption.

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