Summer can be a tough time for local food pantries, as supplies garnered during year-end holiday drives start to run low.
On Sunday, a group of suburban churches and synagogues did something about that.
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The Northwest Suburban Interfaith Council hosted its first summer fundraiser, a family 5K walk titled "I
Walk to Feed the Hungry." The event will help stock the food pantries at four congregations: St. Mary Parish in Buffalo Grove, Kingswood United Methodist Church in Buffalo Grove, St. Alphonsus Liguori in Prospect Heights and Congregation Beth Am in Buffalo Grove.
The walk started in the parking lot of St. Mary church and wound its way through parts of Buffalo Grove and Long Grove. Music, food and entertainment were available at Hope Lutheran Church in Long Grove, the halfway point of the walk.
Additional participating congregations included: Congregation Beth Judea; Congregation B'nai Shalom, Congregation Shir Hadash, Lutheran Church of Good Shepard and Temple Chai.
Organizers said they were expecting as many as 200 people to participate.
"Feeding the poor is one of our most important responsibilities," said Gary Long, a deacon at St. Mary Parish, before Sunday's walk. "I'm not sure people realize how many people in this area need help. We have to take care of them ... God told us to do so."
Rich Rosen, president of the Interfaith Council, said an additional benefit to the event is that it provides another opportunity for the council's different faith groups to work together.
The council also hosts a popular interfaith Thanksgiving service each fall.
"It's really wonderful when the different places of worship that make up the council can come together," Rosen said.
Diane Shultz of Wheeling and Heather Tsihlis of Buffalo Grove were among those who participated in the walk. Both said they were attracted by the cause and the interfaith aspect of the event.
"It's such an awesome idea," Tsihlis said. "You do feel a sense of connection."
Rosen said he hopes the Walk to Feed the Hungry will become an annual event.
"As soon as it's over we'll take a look at how it went and talk about how to make it even better next year," he said.