The facts are disheartening and shocking. According to Project Bread’s 2005 Status Report on Hunger in Massachusetts, “630,000 people (9.8 percent of the population) live below the poverty line.” Hunger has violent medical and emotional consequences. Although severe malnutrition is rare in America, approximately thirteen million households experience food insecurity. Paradoxically, there exists a link between hunger and obesity. According to Project Bread’s 2004 Report on the Link between Hunger and Obesity, poor families oftentimes choose inexpensive, processed, readily-available, nutrient-deficient foods that result in obesity. Simply put, hunger leads to poor health.
On Sunday, May 7th, the first ever Harvard Business School “MBA Cares” Team participated in Project Bread’s 38th Annual Walk for Hunger to help to alleviate, prevent, and ultimately end hunger in Massachusetts. The MBA Cares team was one of a dozen Harvard University teams registered for the Walk for Hunger and successfully raised approximately fifteen hundred dollars, more than enough to supply an emergency food program with at least six thousand pounds of food.
The Walk for Hunger is the oldest continual pledge walk in America, and is the largest annual fundraiser for the hungry in Massachusetts. The scenic twenty-mile walk began at Boston Common, and wove through Boston, Brookline, Newton, Watertown, and Cambridge before looping back to Boston Common. The goal of Project Bread’s annual Walk for Hunger was to continue to raise money to support over four hundred emergency food programs in Massachusetts. Approximately one-third of the meals funded by Project Bread were served to children.
Outside the beautiful and safe HBS campus, one can find extremely concentrated pockets of hunger throughout the state of Massachusetts. The HBS world is a privileged community but it has passion and dedication towards helping those who are less fortunate. For example, Katie Golus joined the MBA Cares Team in order to raise more funds than she would be able to give on her own. According to Golus, it is easy to be charitable from a distance and to ignore problems literally right in front of your eyes. Her active participation the Walk for Hunger was her attempt to make the world, country, state, and city a better place.
The formation of MBA Cares Team was only one of a few acts of compassion displayed by the huge heart of the HBS community this academic year. For example, tremendous relief efforts were executed by compassionate HBS students during the Hurricane Katrina and South Asia Earthquake disasters. The mission of the HBS Cares Team was not only to continue the wonderful Massachusetts tradition of helping to feed the hungry, but also to continue the beautiful HBS tradition of compassion for the poor.
For further information on Project Bread, please visit www.projectbread.org.