Proviso students fight hunger at the annual CROP Walk between Oak Park and Austin on May 6. | Submitted photo

I want the Maywood, and larger Proviso Township, communities to know that on May 6, during the CROP Hunger Walk, 23 Proviso East seniors, two of their teachers, Ms. McEllistrim and Ms. Murray, and two students from Proviso West raised $700.

The fundraiser to feed hungry people, now in its 35th year, started at Pilgrim United Church of Christ on Lake St. in Oak Park. The almost 300 walkers proceeded east and into the Austin Neighborhood of Chicago and then back into Oak Park — a total of five miles.

“When I first heard about the hunger walk,” said McEllistrim, “I thought it would be a great way for some of my students to earn some community service hours. I had expected maybe five or six students to sign up. But I had encouraged my students to recruit their friend to come too because it’s more fun if you do it in a group. I never expected that 25 students would show up.”

Proviso East Senior Sebastian Zaragoza said he participated in the walk at first because he needed to earn some community service hours, but as he and his friends did the walk it was nice to know that they were helping people.

Likewise, Jamari Hawkins said he liked doing the walk because some of the money he raised was going toward food pantries in his own community.

The agencies to which Jamari was referring include The First Baptist Church of Melrose Park Food Pantry, Housing Forward, Proviso Food Pantry, Quinn Center of Saint Eulalia Hunger Ministries and Vision of Restoration Food Pantry.

McEllistrim concluded, “As we walked as a group I think the student really got why people were walking and they learned something about would hunger. My goal for next year will be to recruit more students and to raise more money for hunger.”

At the time this letter was sent, we’ve received over $70,000 and the contributions are still coming in.  That means that our local pantries will receive a total of about $20,000 as they did last year.

Tom Holmes