By Nancy R. Elliott
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Home sweet home. That’s the ultimate goal of the annual Homeward Bound 5K fund raising walk taking place Sunday, April 21.
The walk helps support agencies in Madison and Delaware counties that are key to fighting homelessness and promoting housing opportunities. It’s one of a number of walks taking place around the state as part of an initiative of the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development.
Walkers will set out from the Millcreek Civic Center in Chesterfield at 12:30 p.m. In addition to the 5K walk, there will be activities for children, including games and a bounce house, as well as food and beverages for sale.
“We’re all excited about it,” said event organizer Deborah Dunham, who serves as clerk treasurer for Chesterfield/Union Township and works with that community’s food pantry. Dunham said that about 250 walkers raised more than $37,000 for a number of agencies in the two counties through last year’s walk.
“It’s amazing how with the economy struggling people still find money to give,” said Dunham. This year, they’re hoping to reach the $40,000 mark.
Agencies that will benefit from this year ‘s fund raising include Alternatives, Inc., Aspire Indiana, Beauty for Ashes Transitional Home, Chesterfield /Union Township Food Pantry, House of Hope, PathStone, Stepping Stones for Veterans, and YWCA of Muncie.
Dunham knows that homelessness is a local reality.
“I have people that come to the food pantry that are homeless,” said Dunham, noting that the Chesterfield/Union Township Food Pantry serves about 50 families a week.
“The need is there. It has to do, I believe, with the economic downturn,” said Tom Hines, assistant director of Stepping Stones for Veterans. His organization provides shelter for up to 60 people who participate in a two-year program.
“There’s really a great, great need for women in this community.” He noted that his organization’s facility houses 12 women, and it is generally full. “Everybody thinks a woman has someone to lean on, that’s not always the case.”
“I don’t think the need for shelter care will decrease in the next 10 years,” said Hines.
Housing opportunity is also part of the Homeward Bound focus. PathStone is one of the agencies that will benefit from the fund raiser.
“This is the only annual fund raiser that we have,” said Annette Phillips, community development director. PathStone provides homebuyer counseling and education services. “It plays into making good decisions about what they can afford and getting a mortgage,” said Phillips.
This year’s event sponsors include St. Vincent Mercy, Community Hospital Anderson, Mutual Bank, GMACK Graphics, United Way, WQME 98.7, Broadway Express.