Zach Bonner, a red-haired, fair-skinned Irish American boy, has a heart of gold. Bonner began a 2,500 walk from his home in Tampa, Florida to journey across the U.S. on Tuesday in an effort to draw attention to the estimated 1.3 million homeless children in the U.S.
Zach, who has received the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award, hopes to finish his journey in L.A. in September.
“‘March Across America,’ I hope, will give voice to the millions of kids that do not have one,” Zach said on Tuesday.
“If it only helps one child, it will be completely worth it.”
Zach, who will be accompanied on the walk with his mother Laurie Bonner, and for the first six months, his sister, Kelley, will sleep in an RV at night. His brother Matt will join him on his walk later in the summer. His mom will walk with him in the mornings and one of his siblings in the afternoon.
Zach became a philanthropist at the age of six. When Hurricane Charley devastated part of Tampa in 2004, Zach helped deliver supplies to neighborhoods that were in need. Zach would come bearing supplies on his little red wagon.
Three years later Zach undertook a 1,255-mile "My House to White House" again for the homeless children of the U.S. He began his walk at Tampa and finished in Tallahassee.
The following fall he continued on from Tallahassee to Atlanta and last summer he completed his charitable Endeavour by walking from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. There, Zach met with U.S. representatives and senators. He was an instant hit.
Along his 2,478-mile route, this budding philanthropist will take part in various other project's and events associated with homeless shelters across the country.
Zach will walk about five hours a day at a pace about three miles an hour. He will walk every day of the week. On average he will cover between 13 and 15 miles a day.
"You're just tired, you're exhausted, but you feel a sense of accomplishment that you've made it through the day," Zach told reporters last week. "Really, no matter how much (training) you do, nothing can prepare you.”
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore