Clowns and cheerleaders are not what you’d expect to see at most Walkathons, but at this past weekend’s South Shore Walk they blended right in with the fun family atmosphere. Over three hundred local residents followed a 3 mile route around the Quincy neighborhood of Squantum to raise money and awareness about poverty on the South Shore.
For thirty-eight years Interfaith Social Services has hosted the South Shore Walk. Located in Quincy, Interfaith is a non-religious multiservice center for local residents. The organization serves the towns of: Quincy, Milton, Holbrook, Randolph, Braintree, Weymouth, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset and Scituate. Their mission is to strengthen family life and offer assistance to anyone in need. Last year, Interfaith’s programs assisted more than 25,000 local residents, and their Pantry Shelf food program distributed over 400,000 pounds of food to hungry South Shore families and individuals.
Interfaith relies on support from individuals and the community to sustain their programs. Since the Walk began nearly four decades ago Pat Baird of South Weymouth has been participating in the event. “My husband and I started walking because our Church, Old South Union in Weymouth, told us of a walk in Quincy to help less fortunate families. By walking and raising as much money as we could we felt that we were doing our part every year. I am still doing the walk today because I know that it will go to help many families.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Interfaith Social Services’ executive director Rick Doane, “There is poverty all around us,” Doane said. “It is not something that people discuss around the water cooler, but we see it every day through our food pantry and other emergency programs here at Interfaith.” Doane said that Interfaith’s food pantry is currently serving over 17,000 people a year. “The past few years we have seen dramatic increases in the number of people reaching out for help. Families are struggling to provide for their children; this Walk brings attention to their plight. It is wonderful to see a community pitching in to help their neighbors.”
That example of community spirit was evident at Saturday’s event. Teams of Walker from State Street Corporation, Kohl’s, numerous local churches and other businesses all participated. "Interfaith Social Services is an outstanding example of what it means to be a part of and to serve the community,” said Peter Tsaffaras, President of Quincy College and South Shore Walk participant. “Quincy College cannot think of a better way to show our commitment to the community than to support the daily efforts of Interfaith Social Services."
The South Shore Walk culminated with a party at the Kennedy Center in Quincy where participants enjoyed lunch courtesy of The 99 Restaurant and Papa Gino’s Pizza, ice cream thanks to Blue Bunny Ice Cream and a host of other activities. From silent auctions and massages by Facilitated Healing Center to an interactive inflatable soccer game hosted by The New England Revolution Cheerleaders, the theme of fun while helping others permeated every aspect of the event.
The South Shore Walk is one of Interfaith Social Services’ most important annual fundraisers. Their goal was to raise $30,000, and they almost made it. “We are only a few hundred dollars away from reaching our goal,” said executive director Rick Doane. “We are definitely still accepting donations. Please donate online at www.InterfaithSocialServices.org, or via mail to 105 Adams Street, Quincy, MA 02169. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this such a fun and successful day.”
–Interfaith Social Services