daniel valdez 8aCOCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2019) –  Food For The Poor donor Daniel Valdez, of Lovington, N.M., is stepping up his training as he works to get into shape for his fifth 500-mile walk to build a home for a destitute family in Central America. 

“We are very excited about this year’s walk, more so than previous years because more people are aware of what we’re doing and I’ve been praying and asking people to pray for us so we can help more people,” Valdez said. “More people, especially my customers, have been asking me about my plans for this year’s walk. They’ve been offering words of encouragement, but it’s my hope that God touches their hearts and moves them to donate. God can motivate people and God can use us to motivate people to build a house, hopefully two and possibly even three, I just want to do all I can.”

Valdez, 56, a competitive runner for nearly two decades, believes training for a good cause is great motivation. His walks to draw attention to the plight of the destitute started with the support of longtime friend and priest, the Rev. Manuel Ibarra, who encouraged Valdez to make his first 500-mile walk in 2012. The following year, Valdez partnered with Food For The Poor.

“This year’s training is different because I am trying new ways to get fit,” said Valdez. “In addition to swimming and running on a track, I am running in the sands of the desert, and I am running up and down the bleachers at Lovington High School’s football field. It’s hard – but it’s good training.”  

In 2014, he made his first 500-mile walk to raise funds to build a home for a family in desperate need in Nicaragua. Inspired by the result of doing what he loves as a way to help others, Valdez decided for his five-year milestone, he would build as many homes as possible through Food For The Poor.

Valdez has a small car wash business in Lovington where he works six days a week and where he spreads the word about his walk to all who will listen.

“Daniel’s passion for helping the poor is truly commendable,” said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. “We are touched by Daniel’s generosity and we are grateful he has decided to use his talents as a competitive runner to make a difference in the lives of poor families. We are blessed to have such a dedicated donor and may the blessings of the Lord be with him as he prepares to walk 500 miles for the fifth time.”

Valdez’s walk through 16 towns in two countries is expected to take 16 days. The walk will start on Friday, Dec. 20, following 6 a.m. Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, in Lovington, and will end in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico, on the first weekend of the New Year.

His route covers points in New Mexico and passes through the communities of 1. Lovington, N.M. 2. Hobbs, N.M. 3. Eunice, N.M. 4. Jal, N.M. 5. Kermit, Texas 6. Wink, Texas 7. Pyote, Texas 8. Coyanosa, Texas 9. Alpine, Texas 10. Marfa, Texas 11. Shafter, Texas, 12. Presidio, Texas 13. Ojinaga, CH, Mexico 14. Aldama, CH, Mexico 15. Chihuahua, CH, Mexico and 16. Delicias, CH, Mexico. 

Valdez’s family and a few volunteers will trail him on his annual journey, driving in the family’s RV, which is where Valdez will sleep at night.

To help Valdez reach his goal, visit www.FoodForThePoor.org/danielvaldez and make a secure online donation.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned or abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.           

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