Wednesday October 3, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Morningside Shelter will host its annual Hike for the Homeless on Mount Wantastiquet this Saturday.

Enjoy spectacular fall foliage along with outstanding views of Brattleboro, while at the same time supporting a critically important cause.

Participants have a choice of two hikes: one to the summit, or if they prefer, the river trail that ends up in Chesterfield, N.H.

"We’re seeing a rise in the number of homeless people," said Joshua Davis, the nonprofit’s executive director. "The numbers go up, but the support systems are fading away. At the same time, affordable housing is becoming less available."

In Vermont, there are barriers experienced by the shelter’s residents everyday that perhaps other town residents don’t face, and should understand, thinks Davis.

As a nonprofit it is important for Morningside to diversify their funding efforts, to brace against potential shocks to the local economy, such as when Tropical Storm Irene struck, and resources, understandably, were diverted elsewhere.

"But we need to have supports in place (for our clients) if something like that does happen, so we don’t have to close our doors," said Davis. "Folks here at the shelter are trying hard. It’s a house full of people doing the best that they can."

Last year the event raised $11,000. The goal this time around is $17,000.

"Our clients don’t have to leave until they’re ready," said Libby Bennett, development coordinator. "We offer a transition for our residents so they can get into affordable housing. But a greater demand for Section 8 vouchers has led to longer stays for some."

Participants are asked to raise funds individually or as a team. Individual participants are encouraged to raise a minimum of $50. The suggested minimum for teams is $250. All funds raised will benefit Morningside Shelter and help house the homeless in Brattleboro and its surrounding communities.

Sponsors for the event include: TD Bank, Abatem Exterminating Co., Trust Company of Vermont, Louts Graphics, Law Offices of Costello, Valente and Gentry, Hotel Pharmacy, Entergy, Peter Havens, Atamaniuk Funeral Home, Bast Investment Corp., Brattleboro Tire, Brown & Roberts Hardware, the Brattleboro Reformer, Consul-Techs, Friends of the Sun, Ker-Westerland Funeral Home, Member’s First Credit Union, The Richards Group, and Richmond Auto Repair.

The hike takes place at Mountain Road in Hinsdale, N.H. on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For those who can’t make the hike, the link to the online fundraising site is: www.first
giving.com/Morningside
Shelter/hikeforthehomeless2012.

Participants who wish to raise funds offline, can obtain a pledge form from Morningside by contacting Bennett at
802-257-0066, ext.101 or by emailing lbennett@morning
sideshelter.org.