New Mexico Man Preps for Steps for Fourth 500-Mile Walk
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2018) Food For The Poor donor Daniel Valdez, of Lovington, N.M., devoted most of his summer cross-training four times a week in preparation to walk 500 miles for the poor for the fourth time.
"Food For The Poor does a wonderful job to help the poor," Valdez said. "My purpose is to help the poorest of the poor and to motivate people to donate."
Valdez, 55, will trek through more than a dozen U.S. cities before crossing the border into Mexico in an effort to raise money to build a home for a destitute family in Nicaragua. The 500-mile walk will begin on Friday, Dec. 21, in his hometown of Lovington and is expected to take 16 days, ending in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico, on the first weekend of the New Year.
"Walking 500 miles is not easy so I will take safety precautions to keep me and everyone safe, plus I also put my faith in God," said Valdez, who has been walking, running and swimming to prepare. "I feel happy and excited, especially when people stop me along the way to find out what I am doing and why. Some people make donations and some even walk with us. But what makes me the happiest is when people offer to pray for us."
The idea of helping the poor was more than a decade in the making for Valdez, who has been running in regional races for nearly 15 years. It was during one of these runs from Hobbs, N.M., to his hometown of Lovington with longtime friend and priest the Rev. Manuel Ibarra that he felt the call to action. With the support of his friend, his wife and children, parents and his congregation, the first 500-mile walk became a reality in 2012.
"Daniel is another perfect example of someone who has decided to take their passion in life and use it to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate," said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. "This will be the second time Daniel has given the gift of a home for a suffering family in Nicaragua over the years. We admire his tenacity and we are very grateful for his generous spirit."
Following 6 a.m. Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Lovington, Valdez will start walking at 7:30 a.m. on Dec. 21.
His route covers points in New Mexico and passes through the communities of 1. Lovington, N.M. 2. Hobbs, N.M. 3. Eunice, N.M. 4. Jal, N.M. 5. Kermit, Texas 6.Wink, Texas 7. Pyote, Texas 8. Coyanosa, Texas 9. Alpine, Texas 10. Marfa, Texas 11. Shafter, Texas, 12. Presidio, Texas 13. Ojinaga, CH, Mexico 14. Aldama, CH, Mexico 15. Chihuahua, CH, Mexico 16. Delicias, CH, Mexico. To see a video animation of Valdez's 500-mile journey please click www.FoodForThePoor.org/mapofroute.
Valdez's father is in poor health, so his parents will not be able to travel with him this year. His wife, children and a few volunteers will trail him on his journey, driving in the family's RV, which is where Valdez will sleep at night.
To help Valdez reach his goal, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/danielvaldez and make a secure online donation.
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 orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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