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Derek Felton

  1. 2019 will be my 16th Walk Against Hunger.
    I’ve been involved with the Walk in one way or another, whether through my feeding program or The Coalition, since 2003.
     
  2. Why do you Walk? Why is this issue of hunger in PA so important to you?
    Well, let’s just go back a little bit. In the beginning, I honestly didn’t want to do the Walk because I didn’t think I had the skills or the knowledge to raise funds. I had an issue with asking people for money. But I had a couple of ladies at my church and they just kept getting on me and getting on me, saying “You’re the leader. You need to go do this Walk.” I was forced to go, but when I did I found that the information was so powerful, so educational, and the tools they gave us were amazing. I had never raised money and I didn’t know I had a gift. For five years straight, I’ve raised over $10,000 or more for my program. I even raised enough funds for us to get a truck.
     
  3. That increased transportation and the money you’ve raised through the Walk, what did that mean to your program?
    Well, first of all it meant that I could stop tearing up my own personal vehicles. I went through about six or seven in just over 20 years. But it also gave us the ability to just go. Now we always have transportation when someone calls. We were also able to get refrigerators, freezers, and shelving. What I started doing was raising enough money to last me from one Walk to the next.
     
  4. Why is it so important for other people to Walk and to fundraise?
    I don’t think folks really understand the dire straits some people are in with not having enough food to eat every day. People will donate, but you have to get the word out to them, you have to educate them. Programs need resources to do that. You want to end hunger, you first have to end poverty. I grew up in poverty and escaped it, but it wasn’t just food that helped me escape, it was knowledge. When people come through my program I feed them physical food, but I feed them again with knowledge. I’m proud of what we’ve done for our community and the Walk money helped a lot.
     
  5. Do you have any stores or memories from previous Walks that you’d like to share?
    When I first did the Walk, I was about 250 pounds and the Walk used to be 8 miles. I was so proud when I did it. Not only did I raise money, but I used my body to Walk for hunger. I had to crawl across the finish line, but the Walk started me exercising. I lost 50 pounds after that by working out and eating healthy food. The Walk was my linchpin to a healthy lifestyle. It didn’t just help my feeding program, it changed my life.