Ending hunger, step by step

By Megan Carpenter

October 20, 2013 Updated Oct 20, 2013 at 11:01 PM EST

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The 31st annual CHOW Hunger Walk drew hundreds to Binghamton University Sunday.

With every step, the people of Broome County were one step closer to ending hunger in their community

"People don't realize that some people don't have any food," said Gavi Hecht, a Binghamton University sophomore.

The money raised will benefit the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, also known as CHOW.

CHOW gave out more than 700,000 free meals last year.

For every dollar donated, they are able to provide four more meals to those in need.

The director of CHOW, Tom Leahey, said the organization gives out more than 100,000 free meals each month to Broome County's homeless and hungry.

"Our goal is to provide 200,000 additional meals to the community," he said. "Over forty percent of the meals we provide every month go to our children in this community, so that's just heartbreaking."

Leahey said he expected up to 1,000 people to come out for the cause.

The crowd included numerous Binghamton University students, some working the event as volunteers.

"It's a good way to benefit the less fortunate," said Johnathan Mendez, a member of Sigma Beta Rho fraternity. "I'm just volunteering myself, a helping hand with all of my friends, so show everyone a good time while you're walking for a good cause."

Putting their feet to the pavement meant an opportunity to learn.

According to CHOW, more than 33,000 people in Broome County are living in poverty.

"If you think about the percentages of people that are starving, I mean just look at ten people I don't know, but maybe three or two of them are starving," Gavi Hecht said,"I think it's important that everybody not only comes out here to support, but finds out what else they can do to help."

CHOW has 30 food pantries and 30 soup kitchens across Broome County.