Background Info

On May 25, 1986, the United States celebrated Hands Across America. About 7 million people held hands to raise money for America’s homeless and hungry population—participants paid $10 to save their place in the cross-country line of hand-holders. The line stretched more than 64,300 kilometers (4,000 miles), from Battery Park in New York City to a pier in Long Beach, California. Long stretches of rope connected participants in unpopulated areas like deserts.
Hands Across America was one of the first national fund-raising events in America. In addition to the $10 voluntary fee from individuals, more than a dozen corporations donated millions of dollars to the cause. Hands Across America eventually distributed about $15 million to aid agencies.


Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry



business made up of a group of stockholders, or people who own interest in the business.



the way something is spread out over an area.

Encyclopedic Entry: distribution



price or cost.



having a desire or need for food or nutrition.



platform built from the shore and extending over water.



total number of people or organisms in a particular area.


Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.


Caryl-Sue, National Geographic Society


Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society

User Permissions

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service.

If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact for more information and to obtain a license.

If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please visit our FAQ page.


Some media assets (videos, photos, audio recordings and PDFs) can be downloaded and used outside the National Geographic website according to the Terms of Service. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the lower right hand corner (download) of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.


Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.


Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.