DJ hauls in $131K for hunger in annual 43-mile ‘Monte’s March’

  • Sean Barry, Monte Belmonte and Phil Korman of CISA lead the pack as Monte’s March walks up Greenfield Road in Deerfield to raise money and awareness for hunger in Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Congressman Jim McGovern arrives at Richardson’s Candy Kitchen in Deerfield Tuesday afternoon while participating in Monte’s March to raise money and awareness for hunger in Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Participants in Monte’​​​​​​​s March make their way to Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Monte Belmonte, center with tie, pushes a shopping cart up Greenfield Road in Deerfield to raise money and awareness for hunger in Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Monte’s March walks up Greenfield Road in Deerfield to raise money and awareness for hunger in Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Monte Belmonte, Sean Barry and Phil Korman of CISA lead the pack as Monte’s March walks up Greenfield Road in Deerfield to raise money and awareness for hunger in Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Radio personality Monte Belmonte accepts a donation from a young boy as he does a radio broadcast from the parking lot of Richardson’s Candy Kitchen in Deerfield Tuesday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Steve the Hippie, left, and U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern walk up Greenfield Road in Deerfield Tuesday afternoon while participating in Monte’s March to raise money and awareness for hunger in Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Radio personality Monte Belmonte accepts a donation from John Howland as he does a radio broadcast from the parking lot of Richardson’s Candy Kitchen in Deerfield Tuesday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • People participating in Monte’s March walk up Greenfield Road in Deerfield to raise money and awareness for hunger in Western Massachusetts. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 11/26/2019 10:55:18 PM

GREENFIELD – Dressed in a shiny gold suit, Christopher “Monte” Belmonte marched north along Route 5 Tuesday as he led the 10th Annual “Monte’s March,” raising money to fight hunger throughout the region.

“It’s the march for a million meals, so I wanted to dress like a million bucks,” Belmonte said Tuesday.

This year saw warm, sunny weather for the WRSI The River radio personality as he pushed a specialized shopping cart, created by students of the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. The two-day, 43-mile journey from Springfield to Greenfield began Monday and ended at Hawks & Reed in Greenfield Tuesday evening.

Belmonte was joined on this year’s walk by U.S. Rep Jim McGovern, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Andrew Morehouse and a dozen other march participants as they made their way north along Routes 5 and 10. The funds raised in the annual event go toward the Food Bank and the people it feeds.

“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Morehouse said. “Not only is it a fundraiser, it’s an awareness raiser. . . . Everyone has a right to healthy food, regardless of their circumstances.”

As of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Morehouse said they had raised $131,000 — enough for 393,000 meals. Belmonte said this year’s goal was to raise $333,333.33. The The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts can use each dollar to purchase three meals, turning the goal total into 1 million meals.

“That’s more meals than were distributed in all of Franklin County all of last year,” Belmonte said.

An official total for the annual fundraiser will be announced in the days following the march, Belmonte said. He and Morehouse explained that by donating to the Food Bank, the funds are able to be spread as far as possible. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts uses its network of partnerships with the federal government, local farms, grocery stores and more to put together meals for those in need.

Last year, the march raised more than $294,720, which brought the total raised since 2010 to more than $1 million, and provided 884,160 meals for 2018 alone.

Throughout the march this year, Belmonte and his fellow marchers received donations as cars pulled into parking lots along their path, to meet the group and give their donations in person. Others donated through phone calls to the WRSI radio station or utilized a text-to-give platform, donating to 413-287-8500.

“We’re all doing our best to get by and we’re all doing our best to help each other from what little — or what lot — we have,” Belmonte said, broadcasting to the radio from his custom cart. “Encouraging generosity and encouraging people to get involved, even in such a wacky idea as walking 43 miles will hopefully change the hearts and minds of a few different people.”

To donate to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts; call 888-323-HOPE (4673) or visit foodbankwma.org. To donate by mail, send a check to The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, P.O. Box 160, Hatfield, MA 01038.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.




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