An attendance record was also set. Our best estimate is that 3,000 people gathered at the Fieldhouse on February 11, 2017. This was possibly due to the fact that this was the warmest day in the 13 year history of the Walk.
There are two main reasons why Walk A Mile in my Shoes takes place in February; harsh weather conditions and raising funds for the Mission. For that one day, it was difficult to keep winter weather top-of-mind. Yet for those that are homeless or in desperate situations, it’s always top-of-mind. They don’t have a choice…if it’s too cold, too icy, or too windy; even if they have holes in their shoes, they still have to venture out to receive assistance.
The importance of the revenue from Walk a Mile in my Shoes is considerable. Last year the increases we experienced in the number of men needing to stay at the Mission reverted back to our “normal” figures. In addition, we experienced a huge increase in our community lunch program. Monday-Friday our doors open at 12:30 for neighborhood guests to enjoy lunch. Men (non-Mission residents), women, and children from all walks of life stream into our dining room. About six months ago we began to average 80 guests per day, never dreaming that we would ever reach those numbers. Since then that number has increased to 120 guests daily. Needless to say, our food pantries are being taxed.
Because of this generous outpouring of care, we will continue to feed those who come for a meal and find the possibility of change.