January 13, 2022

BetterLife’s Walk to End Hunger: Our 2021 Signature Event Recap

This summer, eleven branches and lodges came together in their communities for one cause, to end hunger. BetterLife’s Signature Event: Walk to End Hunger raised more than $27,000 and over 3,500 pounds of food to help nineteen hunger-relief organizations in member communities all across the Midwest.

Raising Funds for Local Hunger-Relief Organizations

Rain or shine, on Sunday, August 8, 2021, eleven branches and lodges held their own walks and fundraisers across the Midwest. We also had several other branches and lodges donate and volunteer at these walks. Here’s a list of the member groups that got involved, the organizations they supported, and some of the stories from the individual walks.

BetterLife President Craig Van Dyke leading a group at the Lodge 141 Walk to End Hunger eventOwatonna, MN | Lodge 127 | Community Pathways of Owatonna-Marketplace

Lincoln, NE | Lodge 426 | St. Francis Food Pantry

Spearfish, SD | Branch 173 | Spearfish Community Pantry

Kewaunee, WI | Lodge 391 | Kewaunee County Food Pantry, Lakeshore Community Pantry, Marv’s Bin Food Pantry, and Ruby’s Pantry

Cadott, WI | Lodge 141 | Cornell Food Pantry and Cadott Food Pantry

Madison, WI | Branch 200/Home Office | Second Harvest Foodbank and Middleton Outreach Ministry Food Pantry

Orfordville, WI | Branch 608 | C.U.P. Food Pantry

Bolingbrook, IL | Branch 145 | Northern Illinois Food Bank, Kendall Community Food Pantry, and West Suburban Community Food Pantry (virtual walk)

Deerbrook, WI | Branch 27 | The WeekEnd Backpack Program

Bannister, MI | Lodge 225 | Elsie Area Foodbank

Menomonie, WI | Branch 927 | Stepping Stones (no walk but still raised funds)

A Big Impact in a Small Community

Lodge 225 at BetterLife's Walk to End Hunger

ZCBJ Bannister Lodge 225 in Bannister, MI, made a big impact in their small community for the walk. About twenty volunteers, over 100 attendees, and over 35 local organizations came together to support and raise funds for the Elsie Area Foodbank. At their walk, there were different activities that helped raise over $8,600 in donations; they had food, games, a silent auction, and live music. The Elsie Area Foodbank needed a refrigeration and freezer unit. With these funds, they are now able to afford them.

Small but Mighty

Branch 200 kiddos posing with ambulance at BetterLife's Walk to End HungerBranch 200 teamed up with Home Office employees in Madison, WI, to Walk to End Hunger. They may have been a smaller group, but they were mighty! The angry geese, hot temperatures, and downpour didn’t stop their walk. There were games, a local fire truck and ambulance, and squirt gun painting. They raised over $2,250 to split between the local Second Harvest Foodbank and Middleton Outreach Ministry Food Pantry.

A Massive Turnout

Lodge 426 in Lincoln, NE, had an incredible turnout: over 25 volunteers, about 225 attendees, and some key individuals in their community. Speakers included Dan Shinnick, CEO of BetterLife; Katie Patrick, Interim Executive Director of Catholic Social Services; Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, U.S. House of Representatives; Mike Hosek, BetterLife Board Director and Walk to End Hunger Coordinator; and James D. Conley, Lincoln Bishop. Additionally, the event had face painting, balloon artists, airbrush tattoos, a local fire truck, and music with a DJ.

BetterLife CEO Dan Shinnick walking with other BetterLife Walk to End Hunger organizers and attendees For every 100 pounds or $100 donated, someone walked a lap. Participants walked 806 laps, which equals 201.5 miles, and raised over $8,600 and 3,000 pounds of food to benefit the St. Francis Food Pantry. “The walk was a lot of work, but it paid off to see how it helped the food pantry to provide relief for those in need in our community. It was truly a blessing. The food pantry can’t wait for us to do this event next year and to make it an annual event,” stated Michael Hosek, Lodge 426 Committee Lead and director on the board at BetterLife.

THANK YOU to all of our members, volunteers, staff, and communities for helping make our Signature Event: Walk to End Hunger a HUGE success! Here’s a fun video with some of our favorite moments from the day. 

BetterLife's Walk to End Hunger 2021