Good Friday Walk celebrates 40th year

File photoA group participating in the Good Friday Walk cross Essex Street in Beverly. This year's walk, the 40th annual, is Friday. 

BEVERLY — For the Good Friday Walk, one day makes a difference in the lives of many. 

The 40th walk, which steps off Friday morning from The Saints Academy on Cabot Street, raises money to help those in need on the North Shore with things like rent, beds and appliances. 

"It's challenging today," said Alan Battistelli, president of the Good Friday Walk. "Apartments are so expensive that it’s easy for people to fall behind."

The walk, he said, raises about a third of the organization's budget. Batistelli hopes the walk raises $21,000 this year. 

This year is the first walk since the nonprofit's merger in December with the Manchester Fund to Prevent Homelessness, a charity that supports working families facing eviction or foreclosure. Battistelli said the partnership is working well. 

"It gives us the ability to help extra people," he said. 

It will also be the first walk without Alice Battistelli, Alan's mother, who died last year and spent countless hours working behind the scenes, he said. 

The Good Friday Walk was started by Ray Battistelli, Alan's father, in 1979. Ray Battistelli died in 2005 but his family has continued the tradition. Since its inception, the walk has raised more than $3 million for local families in need. 

Participants are all ages, from older people who might walk only a portion of the route to students who get credit for community service hours. The walk is long — 10.5 miles — but includes breaks for cinnamon rolls at the Church in the Cove and lunch at St. John's Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms.

Among the participants is Rich Donlon, a retired postal worker who hasn't missed a walk since 1980. 

About 60 volunteers help run the event. Some help run the registration table; others are crossing guards along the route. 

Walkers can download a sponsor sheet from www.goodfridaywalk.org. Participants have to raise at least $25. 

Batistelli encourages people to come and walk, even if only for part of the route. 

"It’s a fundraiser," he said, "it’s not abut how far you can walk. It’s about raising money for the cause."

Staff writer Paul Leighton contributed to this report.

Cheryl Richardson can be reached at 978-338-2664 or crichardson@salemnews.com.

 

Good Friday fundraiser

What: 40th annual Good Friday Walk

When: Friday, April 19, 7:30-9:30 a.m. registration at The Saints Academy, 525 Cabot St., Beverly

Where: 10.5-mile route starts and ends at The Saints Academy

Information: For sponsor sheets go to www.goodfridaywalk.org. Questions call 978-927-5847