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A walk is a walk is a walk — it is invigorating, it pumps up the heart, and may result in weight loss.

But the Walk Against Poverty is beyond all these.

It gives hope.

Like a balloon, the annual walk by Building Futures Together hopes to lift the spirits of those with very little, particularly in the provinces of Samar Island in the Philippines.

This year, the Walk took place in Manhattan for the first time, on Central Park West.

It was a bright, brisk day, surrounded by all the greenery that Central Park brings.

The site and sight was breathtaking.

Realizing that the dismal global economy, massive job losses and homes lost to foreclosures, may impact the donations, Building Futures Together (BFT) continues to be hopeful its cause and objective, to wipe out poverty, would be the most and the more compelling to friends and potential donors.

Poverty is a daily reality. It is children going to bed hungry; beaten up in frustration by parents who cannot provide them their very basic needs; it is not accessing education, it is not having a future, etc.

BFT founder Loudette Avelino said, “Poverty is not an emergency or a disaster that is waiting to happen. It is happening.”

And so the task of helping people and communities out of poverty is ever ongoing — wiping out illiteracy, providing sources of income through livelihood projects and connecting the poor and disenfranchised to medical assistance.

“The literacy program has seen the greatest improvement over the years,” Avelino said.

“With over 60 public elementary school libraries set up by Building Futures Together, we have seen entire schools’ achievement scores rise from the lowest third to the top eighties. This was a happy surprise to me!”

She adds, “We have seen a family whose mother participated in our livelihood program (sewing center), is able to send all five children to school at the same time where she could only send one child to school at a time in the past; and is able to provide them with meals whenever they are hungry and repair their humble home. I couldn’t be more proud.”

BFT will continue to accept donations for the walkathon until the end of December via its website www.buildingfuturestogether.org