Still Going Strong

Palmdale man walks 2,018 to raise money for SAVES

PALMDALE — Welcomed with the clamoring noise of party horns, cheering and colorful confetti, Bart Avery crossed the finish line made up in front of the South Antelope Valley Emergency Services, or SAVES building, Tuesday morning, as he concluded his 2,018-mile walk in 2018 to raise awareness and money for SAVES, a food bank in Palmdale.

“It’s all worthwhile today to finish this up and achieve my main goal, which is bringing awareness to such an awesome local program,” Avery said.

Since Jan. 1, 2018, Avery began “Bart Walks for SAVES” and has not missed a day yet.

“It was a major investment,” he said, “It took up about three hours a day.”

So far, this year, he has raised $10,000, which goes directly to SAVES for food and other items the clientele needs for every day living. His goal is to raise $20,000 by the end of the year.

“I am raising money by asking people to pledge a penny a mile or $20.18,” Avery said, “We also have numerous corporate sponsors who have pledged $250, on up.”

He has been tracking every step of the way using the Map My Walk app and posting pictures and videos of his progress to his hundreds of friends on Facebook.

Some of his walks included places such as Dodger Stadium and Pebble Beach golf course, but most were among local areas right here in the Valley. It seemed fitting his last mile would be a walk from city hall to the SAVES facility on East Avenue Q-12 in Palmdale.

“I’ve lived in Palmdale for 36 years and had never heard of SAVES until last year,” Avery said. “That had to change.”

Last year he started a similar walk, only for about a month-and-a-half, where he raised $6,500 for SAVES.

“This year, I wanted to do something bigger,” he said.

Avery, 61, is also the co-founder and owner of local craft brewery, Bravery Brewing, in Lancaster.

“I feel happy and healthy,” he said with a smile, after achieving his goal.

The SAVES program was started in 1983 to offer assistance to individuals and families who are experiencing a temporary emergency situation, by providing a practical and caring approach to serving people in need.

“The mission of SAVES is to provide food assistance with dignity and respect to all who need it,” SAVES Coordinator Patricia Morales said.

SAVES is dedicated to alleviating hunger among very low and extremely low income working families, elderly, disabled and homeless in the south Antelope Valley (Palmdale, Littlerock, Pearblossom, Llano, Lake Los Angeles, Acton and Lake Elizabeth).

“I have a close-knit crew of volunteers who loves what he is doing,” Morales said of Avery. “I really respect and appreciate all he has done for us.”

SAVES is a city of Palmdale program managed by the Neighborhood Services Department. The day-to-day operations of SAVES and staffing are funded through Community Development Block Grants. Food is provided by federal programs and the contributions of local markets and stores. SAVES donates extra food to local senior centers, sober living homes and other food assistance programs.

To make a donation, volunteer, or learn more about the city of Palmdale SAVES program, call 661-267-5191.

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kkukaua@avpress.com

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