11-year-old fights hunger
Duluth resident collecting donations for walk

LAWRENCEVILLE - At 11 years old, Paul Ciaramello is already a philanthropist at heart and in service.

The Duluth youth is a regular participant - for six years now - in the Atlanta Community Food Bank's annual 5K Hunger Walk, an event that raises money for those in need.

"I just love doing it with my mom," Paul said of the annual event, which he will participate in Sunday, "and it seems like a good way to help all the people in hunger in the world."

Paul's mother, Kathleen Ciaramello, said the Hunger Walk has been the catalyst for shaping her son's giving nature.

"It was his first connection with the community," she said. "It is Paul who pushed me to stick with it over the last six years."

During the third year Paul participated, his mom had a conflict and told him they would have to miss the walk.

"His response was, 'We can't miss the Hunger Walk ... it's our tradition,'" she said. "I, of course, changed my plans and we attended. He taught me that community, whether time or treasure, isn't something you plan to do if you have time. Now it is something we decide to do and plan around."

Before the Hunger Walk, the Hull Middle School sixth-grader sends out letters to friends and family asking for donations to support the cause. This year, Paul has collected $750.

"I'm excited about knowing that I helped a lot of people," Paul said. "It just feels good to have donated all that to the people who don't have anything."

Anyone interested in participating in this year's 5K walk or the 10K run Sunday at Turner Field can register at noon at the event. Registration is $25 for runners and free for walkers, with a minimum donation of $25 encouraged. For more information on the Atlanta Community Food Bank, visit www.acfb.org.