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Local Pastor to Walk 111 Miles for the Fight Against Hunger

Rev. Ronald Garner walking from Montauk to Freeport this week to help support people in need.

(WMCC) of the United Church of Christ is showing support this week for its pastor, Rev. Ronald Garner, who began a five-day 111-mile walk on Monday to help fight hunger.

The efforts of Rev. Garner and WMCC are part of the United Church of Christ’s Mission: 1 campaign, running from November 1 through November 11, to fight hunger

The 111-mile walk began on Monday in Montauk and will conclude on Friday in Freeport. The 111-mile journey is one of Rev. Garner’s personal goals, while he hoped that WMCC would collect 1,111 food items for the Freeport Emergency Pantry. As of 4 p.m. on Sunday, the church collected 2,297 items, surpassing Rev. Garner’s original target.

While traveling throughout Long Island during his 111-mile walk, Rev. Garner plans to stop and spread the word about food donations and people in need.

“I’m going to stop at a couple of schools and talk to children,” said Rev. Garner. “We’re also asking supermarkets along the way to collect food to give to their local food pantries. The Long Island Council of Churches has a location in Riverhead in addition to Freeport; we want to help in both Suffolk and Nassau." 

Collecting food for the Freeport Emergency Pantry is not something new for WMCC. The Long Island Council of Churches presented awards to WMCC over the years for both its food and monetary donations year round.

The holiday season is right around the corner, but food pantries need help throughout the year.

“WMCC always emphasizes the need for food donations and tries to make people understand that those less fortunate need food all year round," said Rev. Garner.

In preparation for Rev. Garner’s walk, WMCC hosted a Harvest Dinner on Saturday. At the event, Rev. Garner designated an area for food donations, which aided in the successful collection. Donation boxes were also set up this weekend at on Wantagh Avenue and Waldbaum's in Massapequa.

Rev. Garner does not plan to stop his or WMCC’s activism after his walk is complete. Food collections and donations will continue throughout the year and into 2012.

“I’d like to collect 11,111 food items over the course of 2012," Rev. Garner said. "I think it will be worthwhile because [Long Island's] food pantries are quite low as so many more people are using them. They are really scrambling for food.”

For updates on Rev. Garner’s journey and food collection, follow WMCC on Facebook. To make a food donation, you can visit the church at 1845 Wantagh Avenue, Wantagh, NY 11793 or call (516) 785-1829 to find out about different collection sites. To make a monetary donation, you can send a check made out to Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church to the church, with the note “111 miles for hunger” on the memo line.

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