SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts kicked off its annual walk-a-thon fundraiser Monday with the return of Monte’s March to End Hunger.

Call 1-888-323-HOPE to donate or online at foodbankwma.org.

The 12th annual campaign aims to raise awareness of food insecurity and funds to provide healthy meals to households here in western Massachusetts. During the 43-mile walk on Monday and Tuesday, Monte Belmonte will be joined by congressman Jim McGovern and supporters of the food bank in pushing a shopping cart from Springfield to Greenfield.

This year’s Monte’s March is End Hunger Now! march will begin with a kick-off event at 6:30 a.m. at MLK Family services in Springfield. This year’s fundraising target is $500,000 for the The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

“Our nation finds itself at a crucial moment in its history,” he stated. “There may be no better time than now to make a major commitment to the people of this land and, as Congressman McGovern has long said, to end hunger now.”

“By investing in our mission, not only will you enable us to provide healthy food to about 105,000 individuals every to month, but also to advance long-term solutions to end hunger as we know it,” said Andrew Morehouse, The Food Bank Executive Director.

“Everyone has a role to play in ending hunger whether it’s raising funds for healthy food, raising awareness about hunger and food insecurity, partnering at the local level to strengthen our local farm economy and social safety net, or advocating for public policies to provide opportunities and a level playing field for all,” said Morehouse.

The walk travels from downtown Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, Easthampton, and Northampton on Monday. The following day, the march will kick off from Congressman McGovern’s office in Northampton, then to Hadley, Amherst, Sunderland, South Deerfield, Deerfield, and ending at the Greenfield Common at around 6 p.m.

“America has a hunger problem. There are close to 40 million of our fellow citizens who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Not a city of town in the county including Massachusetts is hunger free. So here we are at the Martin Luther King Family Services, Monte kicks off the march here, this is an important place to begin because a lot of people come here looking for food looking for help,” said McGovern.