FORT MYERS, Fla. — If 99-year-old Fort Myers resident Anne Paniagua can do it, so can you.
Paniagua is gearing up to take part in the WINK News Feeds Families Hunger Walk, set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Miromar Outlets in Estero. She hopes to inspire others to take part in the 2-mile walk and donate to the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, the co-sponsor for the event.
The reason behind the benefit event for hungry Southwest Florida families is near to Paniagua’s heart. She lived through the Great Depression as a teenager and knows what it’s like to have to scramble for food.
“People don’t understand how bad it was then,” she said.
Paniagua is no stranger to physical exertion, either. She used to walk between 20 and 40 blocks daily at lunchtime when she lived in New York, and she still works out every day. She demonstrated some of her exercises to WINK News reporter Jessica Alpern via Facebook Live:
“She never is tired or wants to sit down,” granddaughter Jackie Natali said. “She’ll get mad at you if you ask her. She’ll say, ‘No, are you?'”
Saturday’s event isn’t a race or endurance event of any kind — just a leisurely stroll designed to bring people together and raise money for a worthy cause. But for Paniagua, it’s a way to demonstrate to herself and the community at large that age and accomplishment aren’t mutually exclusive.
“I’m so happy that I’m here and able to do it,” she said. “So far, so good.”
Click here to join Paniagua and register for the walk.