MERIDIAN, Idaho — About 350 people marched through Kleiner Park in Meridian to raise awareness for senior hunger and food insecurity during 'March for Meals' Saturday.
While smiles and cheers are a common sight at the annual event, one thing was missing among the crowd of people this year.
For the first time in the event's history, longtime KTVB meteorologist and Idaho philanthropist Larry Gebert wasn't there. Last year's March for Meals was the final charity event Larry highlighted before he unexpectedly passed away last April.
This year's March for Meals honored Larry and his years of service to Meals on Wheels Metro Boise. Larry's wife and sons led Saturday's march.
"It's been a hard year for a lot of us," Larry's son David said. "But days like this, we come out, remember the good times, and just try to keep it rolling - what he did. It just makes you feel good to kind of get out and give back."
Step by step, the march raised at least $2,000 to provide food security for seniors. Horizon Credit Union donated $5 to Meals on Wheels Metro Boise for each person who marched, so Saturday was a chance for hundreds to get out and give back to the community - just like Larry did for so long.
"We were blessed to have Larry for 23 years, and we want to continue on with that feel, in our way," Larry's wife Julie said. "He had such a big impact on this community. He was always volunteering and always being a part of everything, just to help any nonprofits. That was just him."
The event raised money for Meals on Wheels Metro Boise, an organization that provides food security for seniors. They serve and deliver over 2,000 hot meals every weekday throughout the Treasure Valley, and provide an additional 1,000 frozen meals for homebound seniors during the weekend.
"This march is important to us because it really draws awareness to the fact that senior food insecurity is real," Meals on Wheels Metro Boise CEO Grant Jones said. "Meals on Wheels is a proven solution to senior hunger."
Larry was a longtime supporter of March for Meals, and emceed the event every year since it started in 2015.
"Last year's march was his last community event before he unexpectedly passed away, so it was very bittersweet today to honor him and pay tribute to him," Jones said. "He had such an impact not only on Meals on Wheels, but on this whole community."
Larry's wife, sons, and grandson led the march - following in his footsteps to honor him and give back to the community.
"Going through this last year, we've been going through this whole process with the whole community," Larry's son Michael said. "Doing things like this, seeing everyone that comes out, and with Grant [Jones] giving his respects, you know, I realize that we're all going through this together. It's always good to see his positive impact."
March for Meals hopes to grow their number of participants next year - to have an even larger impact on food insecurity.
"This is what we've got - our community is what we've got," David said. "Just give back when you can, try to be nice, look out for others. Help people."
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