A group of about 300 individuals began the third annual Walk to End Homelessness April 2 at Fairmount Park in Riverside.
The Walk to End Homelessness is a two-mile walk hosted by the City of Riverside designed to raise support for organizations who help the homeless get into housing.
The event also helps raise funds to purchase these home items, as Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, said when individuals move into an apartment, they are not provided with basic home appliances.
Sponsors participated to help make this year’s event possible including The Riverside Unified School District, Wal- Mart and Habitat for Humanity.
The walk also provides organizations who reach out to the homeless community the opportunity to preregister, which allows them to have a booth at the event.
This year, the booths were placed where the event began and ended, and provided participants with information about their outreach to the homeless.
“(This event) has brought more attention to the issue of homelessness in our city, and that’s important — to educate the public about what we are doing to solve the issues,” Bailey said.
This event also provides opportunities for organizations to connect with one another and unite for a common cause.
California Baptist University students Annabel Zandi, senior intercultural studies major, and Katelyn Thompson, junior business administration major, volunteer for an outreach called Gumbo through First Baptist Church of Riverside. Although Gumbo did not have a booth at the event this year, Zandi and Thompson were able to make connections with other homeless organizations.
“I’m excited to get the information about each program to help the people we serve get the resources they need,” Thompson said.
Emilio Ramirez, development director and deputy director for Community Development for the city of Riverside, stated each year the number of attendees has grown.
The goal is to get 500 people to come to the event. With this year’s total at about 300 people, the city is closer to reaching its goal.
Ramirez said although the location and date for next year’s event is still underway, the city has planned to host the event in April to continue to raise support and awareness for the homeless community.
“It’s a great vision to end homelessness in our lifetime, but it takes one step at a time,” Bailey said.
To find out more how to make a difference in changing people’s lives through Ending Homelessness, visit its website.
Information on programs, ways to donate and more are available.