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HARVARD — The 33rd Annual Nashoba GFW (“Great Food Walk”) to defeat hunger will be held on Good Friday, April 14, 2017. The money raised by this non-denominational walk benefits two important charities: Loaves & Fishes, the largest food pantry in North Central Massachusetts, and Sharing, Inc., which helps impoverished youth in the rural South. We need lots of volunteers to raise money and walk with us, volunteer at the registration table or in the kitchen, or to sponsor a walker. The more money we raise, the more you help local residents in need. (Each $1 that Loaves & Fishes receives buys 5 POUNDS of food!)

The GFW leaves the Harvard Congregational Church, 5 Still River Road, Harvard (on Harvard Common), and follows a scenic 5-mile loop passing by goats, horses, chickens, and Fruitlands Museum. Walkers can register any time between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Park along the Common away from the Harvard General Store. Wear comfortable shoes, and do a little practicing before the event – get yourself in shape! With just a little effort, you can make a real difference in the lives of your neighbors who face food insecurity and other challenges daily.

In this uncertain economic climate, Loaves & Fishes anticipates the number of families and individuals coming to the pantry to increase. As any grocery shopper knows, the cost of food keeps going up while package size is shrinking. In 2016 Loaves & Fishes distributed food to more than 800 local families — more than 2000 individuals. By sponsoring a walker or joining us for the Walk, you are putting healthy, nutritious food on our clients’ tables for a few meals each month. Our goal for this year’s Walk is $33,000 to mark our 33 rd year of doing this.

Please consider forming a team to raise as much money as you can — teams from work, church, your civic group, your family, your friends. If you’re a teacher, school administrator, or a church youth group leader, do you have students who are willing to walk and raise money, or to help in the kitchen or at the registration table? (The GFW definitely qualifies for community service time!) 90 percent of the money raised will be used to purchase food and personal care items for our clients (your neighbors) from Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton, and Shirley; 10 percent will go to Sharing, Inc., an organization which helps the poor in the rural South, in honor of the founder of the GFW.

What do you need to do to participate? If you’re walking, pick up a sponsor sheet today at your local church or library, or download it at or Then gather as many pledges or contributions as possible. (Walkers are asked to raise a minimum of $25 to participate.) Walkers who raise more than $150 will receive a free GFW baseball cap.

On the day of the Walk, total your sponsor sheet and bring it to the Registration Desk at the Harvard Congregational Church to receive a walker number and map. Walkers under the age of 18 need a parent or guardian’s signature on their sponsor sheet; walkers under 12 must have adult supervision.No bicycles, roller blades, scooters or skateboards are allowed, but children and dogs are welcome. If you want to volunteer in the kitchen or at the registration desk, contact either Jeanie Colony ( Becca Day-Newsham (

The Nashoba GFW is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Loaves & Fishes — and in these difficult economic times, it’s critical to our clients that the Walk be successful. The people we serve are your neighbors, and they need your help.

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