Second Harvest North Central Food Bank recently received a visit from Jess Kurti, who is volunteering at all 200 Feeding America member food banks. She’s also running marathons in each state, but we got her to slow down long enough to tell us more about what she calls the Beast of Burden Challenge:
“My goal is to raise awareness about the existence and importance of food banking in the fight to end hunger. I aim to highlight the wide array of programs food banks provide. And emphasize how easily any individual can get involved in ending hunger,” states Jess.
“In addition, I would like to engage the running community about the importance of alleviating hunger. I’ve discovered that marathons and food banks have a surprising amount in common. No one knows the importance of nutrition for health, development, and performance more than a runner! (And a hunger fighter, of course.) Not to mention, the absolute necessity of thousands of volunteers. No race would be remotely successful without the passion and dedication of so many volunteers. And operating a food bank without volunteers would be next to impossible.”
To this end, Jess came to northern Minnesota to run Grandma’s Marathon and then to visit our food bank in Grand Rapids as part of her quest to run a marathon in every state and to volunteer at every food bank in the Feeding America network. She spent the day here doing a host of different volunteer activities which included repacking cereal and potatoes in the warehouse, watering donated tomato plants, and helping to wait on customers at our on-site food shelf. Working directly with clients and the other food shelf volunteers to put food into the hands of people struggling to keep themselves and their families feed was a real highlight for Jess.
Jess and her Beast of Burden Challenge is an example of what one motivated person can do to help fight hunger in this nation. There are a million good causes, but she found her passion was tied to people facing hunger and food insecurity, and she is crossing the nation to help out and get a close-up view of what is being done throughout the Feeding America network of food banks to combat hunger in our nation.
Jess is a warm-hearted and spirited one-woman show who found her own unique way to make a difference and get others involved in the fight against hunger. It was a pleasure and inspiration to have her here working beside us and also a very good day for her. Happy and safe travels for the rest of the journey, Jess, and congrats on all your accomplishments so far!
Ellen Christmas, Program Manager