Scarecrow Stroll event fights hunger by building crows


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Michelle Bujold, marketing coordinator at The Avenue Viera, gets Scarry Potter ready for the sixth Scarecrow Stroll from Oct. 4 to 18. The Scarecrow Stroll ballot features 32 business-built scarecrows that will take participants around Viera, Suntree and Rockledge to vote for their favorite crow.

Kristy Wright

A bevy of good-looking scarecrows will help feed the 1,600 hungry kids of the Children’s Hunger Project, the chosen charity for this year’s Viera Voice Scarecrow Stroll and Harvest Festival scheduled for Oct. 4 to 18.

The map and ballot in this issue of Viera Voice will lead participants in the stroll through the community to view the 36 scarecrows created for the event. Vote for your favorite ‘crow and you will be entered in a prize drawing. The scarecrows will be up for auction at the Harvest Festival, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21 at The Avenue Viera.

Volunteers from the Children’s Hunger Project are creating their own scarecrow, or rather, scarecrows.

“It will be a happy volunteer surrounded by scarecrow kids with a backdrop of a school,” said Children’s Hunger Project office manager Cynthia Thompson.

“It represents the hundreds of volunteers who get backpacks of food for kids to take home every weekend.”

The grassroots organization was launched six years ago to feed Brevard children at risk of malnutrition during the weekend. Brevard County Schools provide a free breakfast plus a healthy lunch through the program during the week for children from impoverished families. However, for some students, lunch on Friday is the last regular meal they will receive until the following Monday. The Children's Hunger Project bridges that “hunger gap” with weekend meals delivered in backpacks the kids take home on Friday.

Childhood hunger, which can lead to a weaker immune system, difficulty in learning, paying attention in class and behaving properly to retain what they learn, is a serious issue in Brevard. As many as 50 percent of children are part of the free or reduced-price meal program. This is a key indicator of hunger risk and poverty in a geographic area.

In its first year, the Children’s Hunger Project fed 40 children a week. It current feeds 1,600 weekly at 39 schools in Brevard County. Volunteers make it happen.

“My volunteer list is over 900,” Thompson said.

Every Thursday, volunteers meet to assemble meals at the nonprofit’s Cocoa headquarters. Volunteers then deliver the meals to each of the schools. Food is purchased with donations from individuals, businesses and foundations. 

For more information on the Viera Voice Scarecrow Stroll & Harvest Festival, go to VieraVoice.com/scarecrow-stroll or call 321-242-1235. For more on the Children’s Hunger Project, go to thechildrenshungerproject.org or call 321-610-1900.