Walking in Good Faith

HUNTINGTON STATION, New York, April 10

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

Just about every aspect of the annual Good Faith charity walk at Walt Whitman High School is small — the length of the walk (just about 45 minutes), the amount of people who attend (about 100), and the number of charities it contributes to (typically three). But the walk’s small stature is not indicative of it’s most important component: its heart.

“We’re small in numbers, but we’re big in heart,” said Ginger Hoernig, who has been in charge of the walk since its conception.

That heart comes in the form of the contributions the walk has made to charities over the last 19 years, ranging from local, Huntington Station-based charities like St. Hugh of Lincoln’s Parish Outreach program, to global efforts like Maternal Life International — a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving women and family health care and that supplies Huntington native Dr. Robert Scanlon with cash for his trips to Nigeria where he helps mothers in need.

The walk began in 1996 with Hoernig’s students, whom she taught through an at-home religious program run by St. Hugh, a Huntington Station church. The kids, as they prepared to make their confirmations, were assigned to come up with an idea for a service project that would benefit the community.

“[My students] were asking me for ideas as to what they could do for their project, but I said ‘Oh no, you’ve got to come up with an idea yourselves!” Hoernig said. “Finally they came up with the idea of the walk, ended up organizing the whole thing, and even decided which charities to give to.”

Hoernig’s own contribution to the idea came in the form of a suggestion to host the walk on Good Friday, a day that most students typically have off from school.

In the first year, the fundraiser collected money from St. Hugh, St. Vincent de Paul in Huntington, and Habitat for Humanity. As the walk aged, Hoernig began incorporating local charity efforts to give the walk a more Huntington-centric feel. Since then, the walk has successfully helped the locals of Huntington as they’ve dealt with crises like diseases, loss of homes, and unexpected deaths of family members.

“I don’t think it’s always easy for those people to say yes to receiving money from the walk,” Hoernig said. “The recipients are putting themselves out there publicly too, and I really appreciate that.”

This year, no individual charity option presented itself, but the 2014 walk will still contribute to St. Hugh’s Paris Outreach program and Maternal Life International.

The walk will begin at 12 p.m. on Friday, April 18 at the Walt Whitman High School track and usually lasts for about 45 minutes. Walkers are asked to bring donations in the form of cash or a check payable to St. Hugh of Lincoln Parish Outreach or Maternal Life International. Hoernig asks that all checks be placed in an envelope marked “Good Faith Walk” and with the donor’s name, phone number, and email address.

Last year's Good Faith Walk participants prepare to embark on their walk to support charities both in Huntington and globally.
Last year’s Good Faith Walk participants prepare to embark on their walk to support charities both in Huntington and globally.

Originally published: The Long Islander (Thursday, April 10, 2014;  pg. A15)

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