Faith • Service • Excellence
LCA Hosts Hunger Walk
Written by Tina V. Bryson, Asst. Director of Communications, Christian Appalachian Project
God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) This could not have been more evident than at this year’s 10th annual Hunger Walk, sponsored by Texas Roadhouse. Ten years ago, staff at Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Grateful Bread Food Pantry wanted to create a community event for Hunger Awareness Month to spotlight food insecurity in the counties that CAP serves.
“In Rockcastle County and surrounding communities, about 1 in 4 children don’t know where their next meal might come from. And many of our vulnerable seniors also struggle to have enough food for the month,” said Sherri Barnett, manager of Grateful Bread. “You never know who is battling hunger because it is an issue people face every day. We have had astonishing support from our local community, and we are glad to see this event grow so that we can make an even bigger impact on fighting hunger in Appalachia.”
The business community in Rockcastle County was an early supporter, but this is the first year that CAP had a corporate sponsor for this event.
“I can’t think of anything that would align better with Texas Roadhouse than feeding people,” said Heather Spurlock, the Vice President of Accounting and Controller for Texas Roadhouse. “When the pandemic first hit, our CEO and founder was very clear with us: our mission is to feed America and make sure that no one goes hungry. Thank you CAP for partnering with us in that mission of hope.”
But the backbone of this event is the support of local students who have embraced the call to make a difference so that no child goes hungry. The students of Rockcastle County for 10 years helped grow this event from 100 walkers the first year to nearly 1,300 before COVID-19. They continue to do amazing work to collect food, promote educational initiatives, and volunteer at the pantry to serve their neighbors.
Through a partnership with Lexington Christian Academy (LCA), CAP was able to expand the event this year to Lexington, Kentucky. Both campuses of LCA participated in this year’s Hunger Walk. More than 1,300 students and staff collected 7,431 pounds of non-perishable food items for CAP’s pantry efforts through Grateful Bread, Eagle Food Pantry, and Water Into Wine. With additional food collected from CAP employees and volunteers, as well as Rockcastle County Schools, many families will be able to receive pantry boxes and weekend food backpacks for children.
“When it comes to food insecurity, I had always had it in my mind that it was never here. That it couldn’t possibly have reached us,” said Tia Alchureiqi, LCA Senior Student Body Chaplain. “Food insecurity happens right here in Kentucky every single day and just being able to bring awareness to that is so important. CAP is going to be able to use the food we collected for the most good. They take those loaves and fish and make the best of it.”
LCA's 2nd-5th grade students learned about hunger awareness by participating in hunger education stations, which where paired with some fun outside activities. The school's preschool-1st grade students participated in an indoor activity where they each pushed a filled shopping cart along a path to an empty refrigerator. This helped demonstrate to them how the food they donated would help those in need. All students also participated in special prayer time for those receiving the donated food.
This year's Hunger Walk was a huge success with $36,000 donated. The following groups donated a total of 13,607 pounds of food:
CAP Staff/Volunteers: 707 pounds
Rockcastle County Schools: 5,164 pounds
Lexington Christian Academy: 7,431 pounds (4,280 PS-elementary and 3,161 6th-12th)
First Baptist Church Mt. Vernon: 305 pounds
We have a great foundation on which to build next year. We are so grateful for the generosity of spirit of everyone involved.