Walking to stamp out hunger

The brisk clear weather on Saturday, October 13, was perfect for the Fourth Annual Walk-Run Against Hunger, during which members of the community came out to support Reaching-Out Community Services (RCS), the nonprofit organization who hosted the event.

RCS has been providing a vital role in the community since 1992, when founder Thomas Neve began the venture. For 22 years, the organization has been assisting impoverished and low-income individuals and families in a number of ways. Not only does it offer an extensive and diverse food pantry, but RCS also provides assistance for a variety of services like tax preparation, food stamp enrollment and social services support.

RCS supporters hope that the walk will bring awareness to the fact that hunger isn’t a problem apart from this community, but something that afflicts our friends and neighbors.

“By doing this walk, it shows people that hunger is closer than you think,” Linda Neve, event chair and Thomas Neve’s assistant, said. “A lot of people here today are recipients. Some people are embarrassed that they can’t feed their kids, but these people are not embarrassed. You’re going to fight to get what you can.”

Although the organization is an invaluable resource for the 4,400 people it serves, RCS is having difficulty funding the provisions due to lack of support. Linda Neve shared that only $11,000 was raised at the last fundraiser, not nearly enough to cover all the organization’s expenses. “We’re hoping to beat that,” she said. “We’re looking for a miracle.”

Thomas Neve was adamant in asserting that RCS was in need of more funding and more involvement from the community. “Most support comes from out of state or out of the borough,” he stated. “We had to cut 300 people from our program because of lack of support; by January, we might need to cut more. We shouldn’t have to worry about keeping this open.”

Though the Walk-Run Against Hunger was held to raise awareness for a worthy cause, it also came with a somber message: “It could happen to you; don’t think it can’t,” Linda Neve said. “Hunger doesn’t discriminate.”

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