BRADENTON -- They walked for those less fortunate.
About 100 people participated Saturday morning in the St. Vincent de Paul Walk for the Poor along the Bradenton Riverwalk to raise morning for the Catholic charity.
Maria Anaya, 54, of Bradenton, left the walk with a tranquil smile, having walked and run in the event to raise money for those in need, she said in Spanish.
"There are so many problems in the world, that we need sports to help you forget for a little bit," Anaya said. "With the breeze out here, you feel like you can forget the world's problems."
Knowing she was helping raise money for the poor while she walked made the workout all the more satisfying, she said.
"The ambiance, the water, the tranquility, the security" of the Riverwalk and "also to participate with others" helped make the walk enjoyable, she said.
Her 8-year-old grandson, who she raises, has attended St. Joseph's the last three years. That is how she was encouraged to participate, she said.
She, too, knows what it is to get help, with her grandson getting a scholarship to attend the pri
The fundraiser was a joint effort organized by the St. Vincent de Paul conferences at St. Joseph and Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles Churches in Bradenton. It raises money used to help provide food, clothing, home furnishings, household goods and financial assistance to families and persons with emergencies in their lives.
In the past year, the conferences were able to assist more than 2,800 people with a total of $178,682 in financial aid, according to the organization.
Organizers said they were a little disappointed by the turnout, but were still hoping to raise the goal of $15,000.
Diane Clark with the Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles Church said she was happy a lot of new faces participated.
Some people who did not walk still donated cash at the registration booth on the Riverwalk.
Money from the walk is important to help people with immediate emergencies such as paying electric and water bills, gas card and food.
Richard Hackbarth, 79, a winter Bradenton resident from Connecticut, participated for the first time with his wife.
"I think this great," Hackbarth said. "I wish more people were here."
He and his wife had heard about the walk at Mass the last couple Sundays, he said, and thought it was important to try to help the poor.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.