YOU SEE A homeless person on the street and you ponder how he got there. You have a few bucks in your pocket, but you wonder if you can do more to help, not just for that one guy, but for the entire community. Well, you can.
On Nov. 28 at 11 a.m., Walk for Homelessness will bring its 3rd Annual 5k Walk to Lake Mayer Community Park in Savannah. Tickets to participate in this year’s Walk will be $15 each and will benefit the Savannah Chatham Homeless Authority’s “Tiny House Project,” while raising awareness for homelessness in the Savannah area.
After the Walk, families may enjoy free live music, guest speakers, fun activities, vendors and more. Refreshments will be available for a donation to Philly Flava, which will also go toward the “Tiny House Project.”
Walk for Homelessness is a non-profit organization that began in Savannah with its director, 24-year-old local Eric Bailey, and a couple of his faithful friends.
“The idea of doing a walk came from seeing it done in other cities,” Bailey said. “I thought ‘We need to have something like that in Savannah... If no one else is going to do it in Savannah it might as well be me.’”
Bailey expressed his concern that a large percentage of Savannah’s homeless population consists of people that are not always publically visible. They are a part of the working class. Some are “couch surfers,” others are foster kids that were not properly integrated into adulthood or veterans that were not properly reintegrated into society. Many homeless individuals suffer mental health issues and have not been able to afford proper health care, leading them to deeper psychological damage.
Walk for Homelessness aims to attack the problem at its core by supporting those individuals to rise up in society before they reach the point of chronic homelessness.
“I’ve had family members and people around that made it seem like making an effort to help homeless people is a waste of time, and I never liked that because though it may feel like a waste of time to attempt to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, doing something to fight homelessness at its early stages is not a waste of time because we can prevent them from reaching that point of no return,” Bailey said.
“The people that need and want our help make up a much larger percentage than the ones that don’t, so we focus our efforts on preventing those that do want our help from getting there’,” Bailey said.
The Walk for Homelessness has grown in participation each year, drawing crowds of 100-150 people. This year, the organization hopes the number of participants continues to grow, but not without precaution. The large outside venue provides plenty of space for social distancing and masks are strongly encouraged as families gather.
Bailey said his group is thankful for this year’s event sponsors: Gilliard & Company (G&Co), Chocolate Martini Bar, South-coast Contracting Group, Epiphany South Barbershops, Weichert Realty - Stanford & Co, and Bailey Asset Management.