Hiker’s journey feeds hungry

Most people who volunteer for a charity probably devote a couple hours a week. Clair Von Handorf, an academic advisor in the Academic Advising Resource Center at NKU, is devoting close to six months of her time to raise money for the Parish Kitchen in Covington, Kentucky.

Von Handorf began a 2172 mile hike from northern Georgia to central Maine on Saturday March 15 and she hopes to return by the end of August and be back to work by October.

“I wanted to do this [the hike] not just for me but to help other people and the Parish Kitchen does incredible work for anyone who needs it,” she said.

The Parish Kitchen is a local charity that provides at least one meal a day to homeless or hungry men, women, and children. Von Handorf chose the Parish Kitchen because she wanted to do something for a local charity.

Hiking is nothing new to Von Handorf who has been backpacking since she was 5 years old – but she has never done anything like this before. Prior to this trip, the longest she has been gone is one week.

About 3000 people will participate in the hike. “I am really excited about meeting and getting to know new people,” she said. She plans to begin the trail with three others, mainly for “moral support” but eventually hike alone so that she can move at her own pace. She plans on starting out slow but picking up the pace after the first couple of days.

Preparing for the journey basically involved a lot of walking and backpacking on the weekends and gaining weight. Gaining weight is important because she will probably lose a lot of weight while hiking and she doesn’t want to take the risk of losing too much. On her journey she will take with her the bare essentials such as a sleeping bag, tarp, food, water, and a few odds and ends.

Molly Navin, the director of the Parish Kitchen, said she is so impressed and grateful for Von Handorf’s thoughtfulness. “Clair is an amazing young woman. We are so overwhelmed with her generosity and giving spirit,” Navin said.

Anyone can pledge money to the Parish Kitchen, located at 141 Pike Street in Covington. Pledges can be made per mile, journey, or just a flat rate.

To follow Clair’s journey and read daily journal entries, visit www.trailjournals.com/goldberry.com.