Chuck Harmon isn’t afraid of a challenge. On Monday morning he and Joe Kilar began the first leg of a three-day trek from WXII in Winston-Salem to Mount Airy in an effort to raise awareness of childhood hunger in Northwest North Carolina. After walking 15 miles on Monday the two stopped at Village Outdoors on Dalton Street in King where Harmon held a concert and locals donated canned goods to Second Harvest Food Bank.
Owner of Village Outdoors, Don Wright said, “The community has been so good to us and we were glad to help out. We hope he’ll get a good turn out from Stokes County and even when it’s done people will continue to make donations like this in the future.”
Harmon understands childhood hunger because he grew up in a home where the cupboards were often empty.
“There was a Thanksgiving when nothing was in our house,” he said. “Having experienced that at a young age and remembering the excitement and joy when people from the church came and brought food and helped us, it sort of set up a pattern for me helping and giving. People gave and supported me in my early life and none of them asked to be paid back. I feel like my payback is doing the same for someone else.”
Today, one in four children in Northwest North Carolina don’t know where their next meal may come from, Harmon said.
“In the summer months kids don’t get adequate food. The need is real and we just want to raise the bar of awareness and get folks energized. Maybe if they see a fat, old man walking down the road headed to Mount Airy it’ll get their attention,” he laughed.
Harmon and Kilar’s determination has been met with honks and waves of support as WXII continued updating their progress throughout the day.
“People are really latching onto it and were excited to be a part of it as well,” Harmon said.
After spending the night at Village Outdoors Harmon and Kilar planned a stop in Pilot Mountain, a 12- mile walk to The Living Room, where they’ll collect donations and hold another concert for locals.
On Wednesday the two finish in Mount Airy and kickoff the annual WXII Summer Food Drive from 5 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. The food drive continues each Wednesday throughout July at different locations. For more information visit hungernwnc.org.
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.