Listed below are some of the reasons why we walk.
1. To raise funds to combat hunger and homelessness.
According to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s 2011 Status Report on Hunger a growing number of households in Rhode Island lack adequate food. In fact, 14.7 percent of our population cuts the size of meals or skips meals altogether, and in the course of a year, two out of every five “food-insecure” households run out of food entirely. As many as 42,000 children (19 percent of Rhode Islanders under the age of 18) live in poverty. An increasing number of families rely on emergency food pantries every month, and more and more working people are showing up at soup kitchens!
In 2011, 4410 people were homeless in Rhode Island, up 484 people since 2007. Forty percent of them are families, and 1 out of every 4 homeless are children. In the last two years, there has been an increase of 20 percent in shelter use. Shelters are full, and social service agencies are strained. To rent a two-bedroom apartment in Rhode Island, a minimum wage earner must work 102 hours per week, 52 weeks a year. And jobs are hard to come by.
2. To bring people of all faiths together on Good Friday.
Good Friday is the day Christians come together because Jesus died on the cross. But ALL FAITHS come together to walk on this day for hunger and homelessness.
3. To involve the community in something good.
The Good Friday Walk is an opportunity to teach everyone about poverty as they walk through poor neighbourhoods. We not just walking, we’re raising funds to help through non-profit, faith-based organizations and programs. Every one can make a difference!
While most of the recipient projects are local, a few are international where we have special ties and where we know we can make an impact with a little monetary support. A Sister of Mercy in Soweto wrote recently, “I am so grateful and all I can say is God bless you and all your people. Your gift will be spent on our new shelter for homeless women and women in distress…and for poor children to get bread for their lunch at school every day.”
While the allocations from the Good Friday Walk cannot solve the problems, they do make it possible for churches and nonprofits to reach out a helping hand to those in need, respond to the people who live in their communities, and provide some measure of material assistance.