Blessed Sacrament students raise money ‘marching’ for hunger Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 08, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
blessed sacrament students march
Blessed Sacrament School in Madison second grader Jayden Wijeyakulasuriya leaps joyfully past the church during the school’s recent Hunger March. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- “Show an Attitude of Gratitude.”

That is the theme this school year at Blessed Sacrament School in Madison.

That is the reason more than 60 first, second, and third graders laced up their running shoes and ran or walked around the school block as many times as they could.

The occasion was the annual Hunger March held recently.

Helping at home and around the world

For almost 40 years, the march has been an opportunity for students to make the Catholic values they learn part of their everyday lives.

In recent years, the Hunger March has helped many people both locally and globally.

Proceeds from the march have gone to building a well in Africa, helping a family secure the first month’s rent of an apartment, helping Our Lady of Hope Clinic in Madison -- a non-profit medical group that provides primary care services to the uninsured, as well as donating to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Prior to the march, the students asked parents, family members, friends, and neighbors to pledge money per lap they completed.

The march begins

As the 9 a.m. start time rolled around and the inspirational music played, the students finished their stretches and warm-ups and got ready for lap number one.

The students walked as a group for the first lap.

As they completed that lap, the students busted through a Hunger March banner and then some took off running as if they’d been waiting all day to do so.

They ran with energy and smiles not unusual to see in excited seven, eight, and nine-year-olds.

As they completed a lap, they got a hole punched in their name tags.

At the end of the march, the students could count the number of holes and know how many laps they completed in an hour.

For the students who needed a break, a rest area was set up with chairs and water bottles so they could stop for a bit and get ready for their next waves of energy.

Most students didn’t stay in the rest area. They got up and got moving again as fast as they could.

“It feels good just to help people that need help,” said third grader Rachel Dinerstein during a rest stop.

While doing good for others, she did admit running hard “makes my legs feel numb.”

About halfway into the hour, second grader Brianna Runnheim had four laps completed and said she wanted to “do as many as I can.”

She said the best part of the Hunger March is “I get to run with my friends.”

As the hour went on, some students went from running to walking; they were still moving, but not as fast as some of their more energetic classmates.

The students’ accomplishments

In total, 61 students from the school’s primary unit -- first, second, and third grade -- participated in the Hunger March.

Twenty-five parent volunteers, along with teachers, cheered them on and kept them safe during the march.

A grand total of $7,106 was raised to help feed and care for the poor.

Third grader Gavin Patterson was the unofficial leader with 18 laps.

Patterson, and several others, ran most of the hour, stopping only for a quick drink of water or a hole punch.


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