This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to a FARE Hometown Heroes Walk in Wilmington DE. I had previously gone to a FARE Walk in 2014 when it was at the Camden Riversharks Stadium, but these two walks were very different in terms of scale and function of the event. Back in 2014, FARE sponsored the walk and had employees working from the Northeast Regional Office there. At this walk, there were allergy-friendly vendors all around the stadium that you could get samples from, a radio station played music, there were tons of give-aways and kids games, and we walked around the whole sports complex. Every participant who raised enough money got a 2014 FARE Walk shirt and there were tons of people and sponsors there. Overall, the event raised $38,000.
Because FARE switched to a individual-run walk structure, the 2019 Hometown Heroes walk was considerably smaller. I was honestly so impressed by what walk organizer Jennifer Kulas was able to create for the community through running the Wilmington Hometown Heroes Walk. At this event there were only about 70 people there, and it was held at a community soccer field with a ½ mile perimeter. This kept it feeling like a neighborhood block party and made it easy to meet new people who share a passion for food allergy awareness. I really appreciated all the hand-drawn signs with food allergy awareness facts scattered around the track to keep the walkers engaged as we went around. They laid out teal pumpkin tables with teal ribbon merchandise, had face painting, and giant bubbles. The event also had a DJ to keep things peppy, raffles, and an allergy-friendly snow cone truck. The most exciting part of the event was when Spiderman came to visit (in accordance with our Hometown Heroes theme). This walk raised $2,952 to help FARE with their research in food allergies.
Following the walk, my walk team went to Red Robin and we had the most amazing allergy friendly meal. I have dined at Red Robin before, but the location in the Brandywine Town Center was phenomenal with their service. When I mentioned that I had allergies, the waiter gave me this card (see below). After I ordered, the manager came out to talk about how they use separate cookware and purple gloves, and delivered my meal individually. It was a perfect capstone for my allergy aware morning.
Even though FARE Walks decreased in scale since 2014, I am glad that they still exist. The walk was a great way to make connections with other people in the area who live with food allergies. Hopefully we will all be able to reconnect with a cure for allergies one day with the money we’ve raised for Food Allergy Research.