New Mexico Man Finishes Fourth 500-Mile Walk for the Poor

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2019)  Food For The Poor donor Daniel Valdez is recovering from aching knees and sore feet two weeks after trekking 500 miles to fundraise for a home for a destitute family in Nicaragua.

Valdez, 56, wrapped up his fourth 500-mile journey to cheers of excited family and friends on Jan. 5, 2019, in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico, after leaving his hometown of Lovington, N.M., on Dec. 21, 2018. Valdez walked, ran and trotted through 19 U.S. cities in New Mexico and Texas, where he was encouraged by supporters along the way, before crossing the border into Mexico.

"People in their cars would honk as they passed us on the road and others cheered for us when we passed through their towns and that motivated me to keep going," Valdez said. "I did a lot more running this time around and even though my body is hurting, it's hard to explain the feelings I have knowing that what I did is going to help a family we don't even know."

The walk started nearly four weeks ago, shortly after sunrise from the Lea County Courthouse in Lovington, and ended 16 days later in the Mexican town of Delicias. Now, back at work at his car washing business in Lovington, Valdez is already thinking about his fifth 500-mile walk. He plans to continue his personal mission to make a difference as long as he's physically able.

"My goal is to motivate people to help others," Valdez said. "We just need to be instruments of God and be willing to help those in need no matter where they are and however we can. When I am out there walking, I feel closer to God, and this is how I can help with Food For The Poor."

The idea of helping the poor this way began more than a decade ago with Valdez running in regional races. During one run from Hobbs, N.M., to Lovington with longtime friend, the Rev. Manuel Ibarra, Valdez said he realized he could do what he loves to help others. He completed his first 500-mile walk in 2012. Valdez later learned about Food For The Poor from church and decided to make the organization his charity of choice for his later walks.

"We never really know when or even how an inspired word could summon us to take action on behalf of the poor," said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. "Daniel's gift of a home for a family in dire need is going to be life-transforming, especially for the children. We want to thank him for answering the call that's been placed on his heart."

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned or abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit

Wanda Wright

Public Relations
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