14 April 2005
Erica Zelfand, 20, from Sharon, Massachusetts, and Timothy Crespi, from Pearl River, New York, decided to make the 2,174 mile hike to draw attention to the possibility of ending hunger throughout the world.
"There are so many potential solutions to hunger," said Zelfand. "Food is the simplest thing that people need and hunger doesn't have to exist. Ending hunger is worth fighting for."
Zelfand grew up on the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts and has wanted to make the hike since she was a girl. She sees her hike as a way of mobilizing Americans to address hunger more effectively. She is taking a semester off to complete the hike, and her commitment convinced her boyfriend Crespi to join her. "More than 800 million people still go to bed hungry in a world of six million people producing enough food to feed eight billion people," Crespi said. "We can do better for those who still lack these basic needs."
To make their hike more than just symbolic, Zelfand and Crespi wanted to partner with an organization that focuses specifically on hunger and to raise funds for effective programs.
After researching numerous relief organizations, they chose Action Against Hunger. "Action Against Hunger is one of the few non-government organizations that focus specifically on ending hunger," said Zelfand and Crespi. "They have more 25 years of experience addressing hunger in more than 40 countries. They've developed programs and protocols that have become models for other organizations worldwide, and they ensure that assistance gets directly to people who need it by having international staff present while their programs are carried out."
Zelfand stressed that helping doesn't require a great deal of money. "A donation of just $50 can feed a severely malnourished child with therapeutic milk for 30 days, and $35 can buy a community a water pump for a fresh well. Putting the money from a single takeout meal or a daily cup of coffee toward the Hike Against Hunger can make a noticeable difference for those with much less," she said.
Know more about Action Against Hunger