Portsmouth City School District hosted the second annual Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund walkathon May 17-18. After the funds were tallied, the check was presented to Mark and Virgie Hunter, the grand total was $7,200 topping the $5,139 raised last year.
The walkathon began last year and was hosted solely by the elementary students this year, with the junior high and high schoolers joined the mix.
First grade teacher Kathy Amburgey was inspired to start the walkathon after seeing the impact the program had on the students. Amburgey wanted to provide an avenue for the students to give back, like Steven did.
“It made me think, ‘I wonder if they know who Steven Hunter was, do they even know where these power packs come from?,’” said Amburgey. “Steven was so generous and he was the most giving individual. I wanted to show the students that they can give back too. You don’t have to have money to make a difference, it can be as simple as being kind to someone.”
The Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund was established in memory of Steven Hunter in January of 2006. Steven was a 2003 graduate of Portsmouth High School.
The funds mission sets out to improve the lives of economically disadvantaged children in Scioto and surrounding counties by supplying basic needs and opportunities and fostering hope for their future. The primary focus is childhood hunger and it is addressed through Steven’s Power Pack Program, providing food for the weekend for elementary aged school children with financial needs.
Steven’s Power Packs now serve 1,100 hungry children every weekend during the school year in 17 different public schools in Scioto, Adams and Pike County. In Portsmouth Elementary alone, there are 162 children who rely on the program. The funds provided by the walkathon will provide 2,445 packs, which equates to 9,760 individual meals.
“Each pack costs just $3, that’s all it takes to feed a hungry child. That’s the cost of a bag of chips, a single kid’s meal at Wendy’s or a smoothie,” said Amburgey.
Students spent two days walking around the Hadsell track, collecting pledges from area community members and business sponsors.
Amburgey said the students looked forward to the walk and enjoyed spending time with Mark and Virgie Hunter again this year.
“The kids just open their hearts to you when we’re up at the track with them,” said Mark Hunter. “It’s a fantastic event, just to know that the school is teaching these kids to give back, that’s something that Steven was so committed to, we’re just so grateful. We’re grateful to God for this blessing. To have this come out of a community to feed these children is so special. It’s incredible.”
In addition to the pledges, Columbia Gas also donated $1,000 to the cause.
“Originally we were going to take the totals of the top givers kindergarten through sixth and match their totals and we just decided to double it,” explained Shane Cartmill. Cartmill serves as the External Affairs Officer for Southeastern Ohio. “The community means so much to us, we live and work in these communities and it’s important for us to invest in the communities where we are. This program does so many good things for the kids and ultimately the teachers and the parents, so for us, it just makes sense. It’s something that we’re proud of, when we talked to Mark it was clear that it was near and dear to his heart. When you see the passion around that it’s easy to say ‘we want to be a part of this,” and the more we learn the more exciting it is to say we’re involved with this program.”
To learn more about the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, please visit www.stevenshopefund.org or Facebook “Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund.”
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.