Over 100,000 people, ranging from university students to executives to those facing homelessness gathered on the National Mall Saturday for the 23rd annual “Help the Homeless Walk.”
The walkathon raises money for the more than 12,000 people in the District who are living without shelter of their own. Since its beginning in 1988, the walk has raised $80 million toward relief efforts.
Hoya Outreach Programs and Education was joined by other Georgetown student groups to march for the cause. Women’s club soccer, Knights of Columbus and College Democrats, among others, composed the group of Georgetown students that boarded the two buses funded by The Corp Philanthropy Committee, according to HOPE co-chair, Victoria Glock-Molloy (COL ’11). The Saxatones also sang at the event.
“All HOPE board members who could make it were there and many others had helped to plan and advertise the event. We also had a number of regular volunteers attend the walk as well,” she said. “What was even better, though, was seeing so many people I don’t know – over the past few years HOPE has tried especially hard to make this an event where students from every part of campus life show up together to help mitigate a serious problem in our larger community.”
Adelfi, Catholic Daughters of America and GU Right to Life also raised funds for the walk in advance. Georgetown students raised at least $1,500 according to Glock-Molloy.
Individuals could choose an organization to which they donate registration fees and funds.
“We participated in the walk and, with registration fees, raised $80 to benefit Back On My Feet, an organization that works to promote confidence and self-sufficiency in the homeless,” said Katie Mercuro (COL ’12), community service director for the College Democrats.
“Along with GU Right to Life, we walked to raise money for the Northwest Pregnancy Center, whom we work very closely with,” said Kevin Kuehl (SFS ’11), chancellor and head of community services for the Georgetown Knights of Columbus. “The Northwest Center provides resources and assistance to impoverished women in order to help them raise healthy children.”
Bright Beginnings, Inc., a child and family development center for homeless families with young children, also gathered on the Mall to raise awareness for the 150 students it serves, representing their needs and challenges during this year’s walkathon.
“We believe every homeless child should have a bright beginning,” Executive Director of Bright Beginnings Betty Jo Gaines said in a press release.
ore than 6,500 people in the District are homeless. The number of homeless people in the area has increased by approximately 5 percent over the last year. It includes about 800 families and 1,500 children under the age of 5.
This year big sponsors and supporters included organizations such as Friends of Samaritan Ministry of Washington and Accenture. Organizations benefiting from this years walk included Georgetown Ministry Center and local soup kitchens.
Although soup kitchens were among the various organizations aided by the walkathon, D.C. area soup kitchens are still experiencing the highest demand in years for Thanksgiving dinners, as reported by The Washington Post.