Monte’s March ‘making moves’ in 13th annual trek to end hunger

  • Radio personality Christopher “Monte” Belmonte interviews Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Deputy Commissioner Ashley Randle live on the radio during the 2021 Monte’s March in South Deerfield. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

  • Radio personality Christopher “Monte” Belmonte, in an Uncle Sam suit, leads Monte’s March up Route 116 in South Deerfield in 2021. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

  • Radio personality Christopher “Monte” Belmonte, microphone in hand, pushes an empty shopping cart down Sugarloaf Street in South Deerfield to raise money and awareness for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in 2020. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 11/18/2022 8:09:30 PM

Monte’s March is about to become a teenager.

The brainchild of radio personality Christopher “Monte” Belmonte, the event started as one guy pushing a shopping cart to raise $5,000 to fight hunger and has morphed into a regional staple aiming to generate $500,000 in its 13th year. Belmonte will be joined by community members and dignitaries as he once again pushes that cart 43 miles from Springfield to Greenfield over two days, starting at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center at 7 a.m. on Monday.

“I’m really touched by the fact that so many people have latched onto this crazy idea,” said Belmonte, of WRSI 93.9 The River. “It makes me proud to be a part of a community that cares so much and is willing to do strange, unusual things for reasons of kindness.”

The $500,000 goal is enough for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to provide more than 2 million meals, or 5,500 meals per day for a year. Last year’s event raised $507,045 and Belmonte had also accumulated a group of roughly 100 people by the time he entered Franklin County. In 2020, in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, Monte’s March generated a record-smashing $614,000 for the food bank. Belmonte is expected to again be joined by U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern and Andrew Morehouse, the food bank’s executive director.

McGovern, who champions the anti-hunger cause, said he never could have imagined 13 years ago that Monte’s March would evolve into what it has become.

“It has turned into this magnificent event that is not only raising money for the food bank but also raising awareness about hunger and has encouraged a lot of activism, not only in western Mass. but all throughout the state,” he said. “I love it. It’s a great community event. I meet a lot of interesting people, a lot of wonderful people. It’s all incredible, but this is an event that, in my opinion, is a testament to Monte but also highlights the goodness of our community.

“I’m always happy to be a part of it,” McGovern continued, “but it’s a privilege to be able to walk with the people I walk with.”

This year’s march comes on the heels of the second-ever White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health, held in Washington D.C., in late September and attended by McGovern, Belmonte, state Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, and Kirsten Levitt, of Stone Soup Cafe in Greenfield. The first such conference since 1969, this event included President Joe Biden, who delivered remarks in the Ronald Reagan Building.

“We’re working to deliver an economy that finally works for working families. Jobs are up. People are back to work. We’re taking on inflation seriously, enacting policies to bring down cost. But there’s always significantly more we can do,” Biden told the crowd. “That’s why we’re here today: to harness our greatest resource — our fellow Americans.”

McGovern said Congress is taking measures to end hunger in the United States by 2030.

“It requires all of us to do something, not just Congress,” he told the Greenfield Recorder. “If we all pitch in a little bit, we can end hunger once and for all.”

Jillian Morgan, the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts’ director of philanthropy, said as of Thursday, 221 people — making up 40 teams — had registered to participate. More information about Monte’s March and how to register is available at

“It’s pretty amazing and I know the event has grown quite a bit from Monte pushing a shopping cart in downtown Northampton to what it is today,” Morgan said.

She said Morehouse, the executive director, will walk in the event and she plans to participate in half-days each day because she has to return to the food bank’s Hatfield office to help count donations.

“You just won’t get a more spirited and excited group of supporters (at the event),” Morgan said. “It’s extremely humbling to see.”

She said Monte’s March has raised more than $2.6 million since its inception.

Belmonte, 44, of Turners Falls, said he likes to get in a bunch of long walks in the weeks leading up to the event each year “to make sure I’m road-ready.” Monday’s route consists of 17 miles and Tuesday’s march is 26 miles.

This year’s rendition is branded as “Monte’s March 13: Making Moves.” Belmonte said there is a threefold explanation behind the name — one reason is that the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is moving from Hatfield to Chicopee, another reason is the federal government is making moves to help end hunger, and the third is “we’re making moves literally, because we’re walking the 43 miles.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: or


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