LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The 6th biennial Outrun Hunger event took over the streets of Longmeadow on Sunday.

The event, sponsored by Rachel’s Table, benefits all the organization’s initiatives; helping to feed people across the pioneer valley.

Abi Stechmann, Vice President of Programs at Rachel’s Table, told 22News, “It’s super important because all the money we raise goes to fill up bowls of people who don’t have food.”

As of March 2022, food insecurity in Massachusetts was at 16.4%, double the pre-pandemic rate.

Representative Brian Ashe of the 2nd Hampden District said, “If you come from an affluent community, it doesn’t mean that people right around you or in your own community aren’t suffering, or aren’t struggling. So to have this many young people involved is so important, so they understand that everywhere you look, there’s people in need.”

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, hunger among children increased in each county Rachel’s Table serves: Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin. In some areas the increase was as much as 86%.

Jodi Falk, Director of Rachel’s Table told 22News, “The need was the greatest. people were unemployed. We needed the resources but we also tripled and quadrupled our work.”

In the past year, Rachel’s Table has distributed over three quarters of a million pounds of food. This is a 100% increase over pre-pandemic times.