Monte’s March for hunger steps off Monday

Daily Hampshire Gazette, November 17, 2017, by Sarah Robertson

For the eighth straight year, radio personality Monte Belmonte will get behind a shopping cart and march 43 miles raising money in the fight against hunger in western Massachusetts.

The annual Monte’s March to benefit the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will kick off Monday morning in Springfield. Fourty-three miles later, on Tuesday night, the march will end in Greenfield.

Along the way, Belmonte will be joined by local officials, advocates whose mission is to end hunger and others — and of course listeners of WRSI-93.9 The River who can listen along the way.

Belmonte will push a shopping cart over the two days of the march, while on the air and urging listeners to call in with donations to the Food Bank. He’ll be joined by Congressman Jim McGovern on both days and Andrew Morehouse, the executive director of the Food Bank.

“It started as a canned food drive outside grocery store, but he wasn’t really getting a lot of canned food donations, so he took a shopping cart and started knocking on doors asking for donations,” said Chris Wojcik, spokesman for the Food Bank.

Belmonte’s first march in 2010 started from WRSI’s studio in Northampton and ended in Greenfield. Two years ago, it extended to Springfield where there is a higher percent of food insecurity.

“Its counterproductive to have this march that is about feeding hungry people and not really include Hampden County in the march that has the greatest need,” Wojcik said.

This year’s march begins at 7 a.m. Monday in Springfield at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 3 Rutland St. The march will wind its way through parts of Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke before finishing Monday at Union Station on Pleasant Street in Northampton for a fundraising dinner from 6 to 8 p.m.

The march begins again Tuesday at 6 a.m. from McGovern’s Northampton district office, 94 Pleasant St., making its way through downtown Amherst, north through South Deerfield before ending in Greenfield at Seymour, The Pub, 5 Bank Row.

Over the past seven years, the march has raised nearly $600,000 and provided about 1.8 million meals. Last year’s event raised $211,000.

“This year we anticipate that he will at least match if not exceed (last year’s total),” Wojcik said.

Throughout the march, listeners can call 888-323-HOPE (4673) to donate to the Food Bank, or visit to make a donation online. Belmonte will also collect money in his shopping cart from passersby.