One Week To Go

Now that the end is in sight I’m not quite sure how to feel. I’m definitely excited to get to Philly and complete the walk but there’s a lot of things I’m going to miss about being on my walk, most notably all the wonderful people I’ve been meeting. I’ll be starting my year of service with Americorps pretty much as soon as I finish my walk, so I’ll  have the opportunity to continue meeting and helping new people, but this walk has been such a great experience I don’t really want it to end. I’ve learned and grown so much during the course of this walk I feel that I’ve gained way more than I have ever hoped.

I’m never really sure what to write when I get a chance to update this blog, and by the time I start writing I’m usually pretty tired and on the verge of falling asleep so I apologize if they’re boring and/or uninformative. So, being that I again find myself fighting to keep my eyes open and mind focused. I thought it might be a good idea to ask you guys what you’d like to hear/know. What, if any, kinds of questions do have for me. I’d love to hear any sort of questions you might have and will do my best to answer them as best as I can. I will have internet access from at least Friday night to Sunday night so I should be able to respond to questions pretty quickly.

I look forward to hearing from you guys and can’t wait to see what questions you may have. I think I’m going to go pass out now. Thanks again for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Adam

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About adambrok

My name is Adam Brok. I am a recent graduate of DePauw University, a small liberal arts school in Greencastle, IN, where I was a Philosophy major and Jewish Studies minor. I am also a proud Pittsburgher. I come from a family and environment where helping people in need was just what you did. If you came across a friend, neighbor, or even a complete stranger that was in need of help, you stopped and did what you could to help. It was just as simple as that. As I grew and moved on to college I continued to help where I could. I volunteered as a student friend at a local elementary school where I served as a mentor and tutor to a kindergartner named Jordan and worked with a local church to help run their non-food pantry (where we supplied members of the community on food stamps with essentials like soap, toothpaste, detergent, etc, that cannot be purchased with food stamps). During the summers after my sophomore and junior years respectfully, I volunteered at the University of Pittsburgh Legal Clinic and The Pittsburgh Refugee and Immigration Assistance Center. I also was fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend the spring semester of my junior year in Philadelphia where I was a social work/legal intern in the Juvenile Special Defense Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. It was during this semester in Philadelphia that I became really passionate about the issues of hunger and homelessness. It was impossible to walk around downtown Philly for more than ten minutes without seeing someone laying on the sidewalk or sitting in dirty clothes on a park bench asking for food and money. It was a scene I just couldn't get comfortable with seeing. Here I was a young college student without much money of my own, yet I had an apartment I slept in each night and food to wake up to each morning. Why should I be so fortunate and not the guy that slept on the sewer grate every night down the block from my bare, but warm apartment. That is when I decided that I needed to something, something much more and much greater than what I had done in the past. Being an avid exerciser and enjoying taking on physical challenges, I decided that I would walk from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to raise money and awareness for the hungry and homeless.
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12 Responses to One Week To Go

  1. Taylor Cantril says:

    Adam, three questions for you.

    1) What do you think about while you walk?
    2) Tell two stories about quirky, generous, or otherwise noteworthy hosts.
    3) How do people respond when you tell them why you are walking? Do they ever ask you about the both the systems of inequality and personal struggles that sustain hunger and homelessness as societal problems?

    Glad you’re feelin’ good. Sleep well.

    • adambrok says:

      Taylor,

      Thank you for the questions.

      1) I think and have thought about a lot of different things. I’ve had company the past couple days of the walk so I’ve actually been able to fill my days with talking, which allows me to articulate some of what I’ve been thinking. Generally speaking though, I think a lot about how far I’ve come and how far I have to go. I think about why I’m walking and what affect it has/is having on people and hunger and homelessness. I think about directions, that is making sure I’m not getting lost. I think about all the experiences I’ve already had and recently began thinking about all the stuff I’m going to miss when the walk finally comes to an end. I think about things like the government, religion, human nature, and all that good stuff. I think about how fortunate I am to be able to be doing what I’m doing and how lucky I’ve been to have met so many wonderful people who have given me so much hope and inspiration (not to mention sustanance and shelter). I think about other ways I can help combat issues of poverty. I think about a lot of stuff.

      2) There are so many. Everyone who has hosted me has been so kind and so generous that I couldn’t tell just two without feeling badly about not telling a story about each place.

      In order to avoid completly copping out of the question I will say that in Mt. Union, PA I stayed with Randy and Jean Speck and that Randy had tried out for the St. Louis Cardinals down in Tampa, FL back in 1964 and met Stan Musial and Stan gave him his hat to wear because Randy didn’t have one. Being a huge baseball guy I thought that was pretty awesome.

      I will also say that while at Gita Nagari, which is a farm run by a group of Hare Krsnas, I helped milk cows for the first time and drank fresh milk for the first time, which was a really cool experience.

      3) I have to run right now, the answer to this series of questions will have to come at a later time. Sorry.

      It was good hearing from you.

      Best
      Adam

    • adambrok says:

      Ok so #3:

      The responses I’ve gotten from people have been wonderful and have been by far the best part of the journey for me. Every single person has been so wonderful, so supportive, so generous – it has just been the most amazing and inspiring experience. They say what a wonderful thing it is that I’m doing and that they wish me good luck with everything and that there going to pray for me. It’s been a bit overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like it’s too much and I don’t deserve all of it. I mean, I’m just walking. There’s other people doing a lot more than what I’m doing. It definitely gives me motivation to keeping going and do more to help people so that I can truly be deserving of all the kindness and warmth that people have shown me.

      And yes, people do ask about the larger and more complicated issues that underly hunger and homelessness. I speak a lot about the systems and struggles because I think they’re complex and very often quite subtle. For instance, a poor family that has little money and parents that work long hours – in order to stretch their dollars – buys the cheapest food, which is usually the food that is the worst for you – highly processed food that has a lot of sodium and sugar and little to no nutritional value. Furthemore, since the parents work so much, they have little time to even try to prepare healthy meals, let alone get regular exercise. This type of lifestyle quickly leads to health problems, which they cannot afford to address properly and things just snowball down hill from there.

      Just as an example of what I’m talking about in regards to food, the next time you’re in a gas station look how much the fruit there costs. It’s usually somewhere in the .75-.99 cent range, or more. Then look at how much a candy bar or pudding snack costs, usually much less. Or in the supper market, look at the price of the cheap sugary cereal compared to the more health nutritious cereals. It really is a priville to be able to eat healthy. Unfortunately it’s not something everyone can afford.

  2. Debbie says:

    Hi Adam,
    I just want to say it was a delight to spend time with you last evening, after your walk to Mt Gretna. From the moment you came in to our home, we were all captivated by your personality, your spirt, your humility and your sense of humor. Not to mention your affinity for Pirates Baseball. (my husband feels comforted to know another long-suffering fan sharing that same affinity)
    We were tickled to watch your reaction to watching yourself on TV (WGAL’s story about your endeavor) and then spend time at dinner with you, while you shared some of your experiences and more of your life story.
    It was a true honor to host you and I only wish we could have spent more time together. Our family came away from our time with you appreciating the kind of human spirit you exemplify. I know I definitely want to be like you when I grow up! We will definitely stay in touch to make sure you get to Philly and we hope to stay in touch with you beyond your walk.
    Fondly,
    Debbie Peterson

    • adambrok says:

      Debbie,

      The pleasure was all mine. I can not thank you and your family enough for the warmth, generousity, and kindness that you showed me. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I was able to spend with you in your home and feel privilleged to have had the opportunity. I will most certainly stay in touch and feel free to contact me whenever for whatever. Brad has my number and other such contact information. Thanks again for everything and for sharing your wonderful home and family with me.

      Sincerely,
      Adam

  3. Adam -

    Way back you posted an absolutely BEASTLY Google Maps route with 282 directions. Is that still how you’re navigating the trip? Have you ever gotten lost?

    Cheers!

    Andrew

    • adambrok says:

      Yup. I just printed off a set of directions for each day of the walk and have been using that exact route (with the addition of some extra exploring due to roads not being marked correctly or at all). So far I’ve only run into direction issues twice and the two times combined have probably only caused me 5 miles of extra walking at most.

  4. Stef Brok says:

    Adam,
    As your cousin, honorary godmother, and a huge fan, I am delighted to have had the opportunity to spend quality time with you this week. Phil and I will forever open our home and our hearts to you and hope you come back to kayak, eat Middle Eastern foods, and hang out on the farm watching the wildlife with us.
    Much love ~
    Stef

    • adambrok says:

      Stef,

      You and Phil are absolutelty the best cousins/godparents/people I could have ever hoped to have the pleasure of staying with. I loved every minute I spent with you guys. I have always loved spending time with you guys and am just sorry I have had the just to spend more time with you and your parents, and Glen and Becky, and Sarah and Samantha in the past. Hopefully we’ll get to see each other more regularly. I’m still thinking about how to make a non-funeral/wedding/bar mitzvah Brok family reunion work.

      If there is anything you guys ever need please let me know. I have a lot of kindness and generousity to pay back to you guys. Thanks so much for everything. I will never forget these past couple days with you guys. They were, and will always remain very special to me.

      Love,
      Adam

  5. Dianne Riley says:

    Adam I posted this on my facebook page …perhaps it will generate some interest. It was great meeting you today.
    Dianne Alfaro Riley
    I was walking the dogs for my birthday walk today and I ran into this young man Adam Brok. He is on a walk from Pittsburg to Philadelphia to raise money to feed the hungry and homeless. He finishes tomorrow. To see his walk or donate go to pittsburghfoodbank.org then click “Adam’s walk for Hunger” or visit his blog at walkingthewalkwithadambrok.wordpress.comWhat a wonderful birthday surprise for me to meet Adam!!
    about an hour ago · · Comment · Like

    Dianne Alfaro Riley

    Walking for homeless
    5 new photos

  6. Brad says:

    Adam,
    Maybe I’m a bit premature, but congratulations on finishing your walk. I wish I could have been there to see you take your last steps, but know that I am there with you in spirit. You have made a lasting impression on so many during your trek. Long after your walk has ended, your commitment and inspiration will drive us to continue what you have started, and that is help those less fortunate than us. You have continually thanked me for assisting with your walk, but I want to thank you for touching so many lives…one step at a time.
    Take care, Brad

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