Reston Interfaith and Comstock Homes, with the help of the Giving Circle of Hope, have partnered together to sponsor Help the Homeless mini-walks throughout September and October. Help the Homeless is a program set up by the Fannie Mae Foundation to raise funds for homeless men, women, and children throughout the Washington D.C. area. To date, the Help the Homeless program has raised more than $40 million. The program was created to assist area service agencies in their fight against homelessness.
Reston Interfaith assists more than 5,000 at risk individuals and families each year. Its child care facility, Laurel Learning Center, serves more than 130 children each year, and is a nationally accredited child care center for moderate-income families. The organization also offers a food pantry and medical assistance.
On Sept. 21, Reston Interfaith held its first mini-walk at the Laurel Learning Center. With the support of Comstock Homes, every child at the center was sponsored. The Comstock Homes donation paid for every child's registration, which included 139 children.
THIS YEAR, the mini-walks are targeting children. Reston Interfaith has encouraged child care centers around the county to get involved. "With more than 41 percent of the area's homeless being children, it is important for all area children to participate," said Reston Interfaith CEO Kerrie Wilson. Many children that attend Laurel Learning Center come from low income families, therefore these mini-walks give them the opportunity to help other children in similar circumstances. "It is children helping children," said Wilson.
The main source of funding for the mini-walks comes from registration, but all walkers are encouraged to get sponsors. All monies received go directly to benefit Reston Interfaith programs. Reston Interfaith and supporting area religious organizations will be holding a youth mini-walk on Oct. 17, which will lead up to the 17th annual National Walk on the Mall, Nov. 20.
The Youth Mini-walk for the Homeless will take place at 2:30 p.m. at the Embry Rucker Community Shelter, 11975 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston. Registration is $15 for youth (25 years and younger) and $25 for adults.
According to the Fannie Mae Foundation, there are 14,000 homeless people in the D.C. area on any given day. Wilson said, "The Sept. 21 mini-walk was just the first of many opportunities of its kind, our hope is that it will raise awareness and inspire people to get involved."