By Zach Itzkovitz

The sun emerged March 15 after a week of gloom just in time to shine on more than 15,000 people at Turner Field NEWS-Hunger1for the 31st annual Hunger Walk/Run.

The Atlanta Community Food Bank spearheads the annual event, which has raised more than $7 million over the year. The ACFB serves more than 755,000 Georgians in need of food assistance.

Aisles of tents lined Turner Field’s green parking lot: sponsors, benefitting partners, advertising teams and so on. Few of the tents were crowded until the race had nearly begun. An exception was the tent of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.

Federation, working with more than two dozen synagogues and other Jewish organizations, helped raise money and recruit participants, such as Michael Jacobs.

“I did Birthright last year with one of the people” from Federation, Jacobs said. “She asked me to come out and do it, so I thought I’d just do it.”

Other Jewish recruits participated in synagogue teams. Scott Zucker, the president of Temple Sinai in Sandy Springs, joined his fellow congregants in answering the call to help the hungry.

“Temple Sinai has been supportive of the Hunger Walk for years,” Zucker said. “We got our group together. We’re the Sinai Striders, so we may have a name. We’re big supporters of the food bank and the need to alleviate hunger in Atlanta.”

Many of the younger participants were students from

In addition to encouraging sign holders, Georgia State University, a brief bike ride from Turner Field, supplied many of the event’s younger participants. Ryan Baill and Alex Mironov are members of Georgia State’s Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, the only officially Jewish fraternity.

“For us, this is a big civic engagement event,” Baill said. “We had Mazon sponsor us, and they basically donated $250 in our name. That’s why we’re here. It’s engaging, civically, for a cause.”

Many Jews understand that cause as a part of tikkun olam, “repairing the world” as a civic and religious duty. The walkers and runners March 15 did not solve the problem of hunger, but like the sun shining on them, they shed light on the issue while working to make the world around them better.