Homestretch Virtual 5K is Keeping Arlington in Shape

Running a 5K on your own or just donating improves morale

Three partners in Arlington combine efforts to help end Arlingtonians’ homelessness.

There’s power in numbers. Three local homeless outreach and community organizations, Community Lodgings, Bridges to Independence, and Homestretch, are hosting their Third Annual 5K Home Run for the Homeless to raise support for Northern Virginia homeless families.

Rather than running on the Washington & Old Dominion trail together as in the past, this event will take place virtually, giving runners the ability to run when and where they would like between last Saturday, Oct. 10, World Homeless Day, and Saturday, Oct. 31.

Additionally, Amazon will sponsor 60 runners for the event, 20 each from the three partner organizations, including families, volunteers, staff, and board members. To combat homelessness, all three organizations are combining efforts to raise funding to support and empower homeless parents and children to achieve self-sufficiency. The organizations also offer a variety of services including mentoring, case management, job readiness, and financial literacy.

“By partnering with other local non-profit organizations that want to end homelessness, we expand our reach and show how the entire community can be involved in ending homelessness,” said Lynn Thomas, Executive Director of Community Lodgings. “There’s power in numbers. It’s easy to assume that homelessness doesn’t exist in these wealthy communities, but it does.”

A study of urban poverty in Northern Virginia from 2017 found an overwhelmingly high concentration of individuals of color living in poorer neighborhoods, and that these neighborhoods, despite their proximity to resources and wealth, shape residents' health and education outcomes. Sam Kelly, CEO of Bridges to Independence, added, “The ‘independence’ in Bridges to Independence is about breaking the cycle of poverty that this study identifies. Your support helps families of color improve their socioeconomic conditions.”

Many individuals who receive support from Community Lodgings, Bridges to Independence and Homestretch are employed but cannot afford to pay for basic necessities such as rent, food, gas, and water. To combat this, the host organizations run programs designed to provide individuals with tools and resources to gain financial freedom.

“At each of our organizations, we’re focused on combating the root causes of homelessness and empowering those in need in our communities with the all-encompassing support that will help them ultimately achieve self-sufficiency for the long-term,” said Homestretch Executive Director Christopher Fay. “In the wake of covid-19 this support is more critical than ever, and we’re glad that today’s event was another great example of the community coming together to support those in need.”

Additional event sponsors include: John Moriarty & Associates, United Bank, Griffin Owens Insurance Group, The Golleher Group LLC, Cigna, Sotheby’s, Association Excellence, LLC, Patrick King and Arlington Turkey Trot.

The “race” will also mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

To register to walk/run in the 5K between now and Oct. 31, visit https://bit.ly/2FqytpO.

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