I am sorry I haven’t really given you guys an update in a while. I have been very busy and have been feeling a little exhausted. There is so much more stuff I need to do for this walk then I could have ever imagined. Things I didn’t even think about when I first began planning it. But I have received so much support and so much help from people that I am more motivated and more energized then ever before (big shout out to Josh Zorich here – you’re awesome, thanks for everything). You guys have been so great. Your support and words of encouragement have given me the strength and motivation to continue knocking on doors and making phone calls, even when most of the time there’s no one there to answer or interested in helping. Thank you. I couldn’t do this with out you.
But enough about me. As far as the walk is concerned things are progressing, though admittedly more slowly than I’d like. I have lodging arranged for pretty much every night east of Harrisburg, which I am very pleased about. But I still need a place to stay for just about every night (except for 2) up to and including Harrisburg. So I need to figure that out quickly. I kind of stopped pursuing finding places to stay after the Central PA Food Bank got involved, hoping that there would be able to hook me with places to stay. That is still my hope and they have already found me one place (thank you Brad Peterson) and might have another one for me too, so hopefully things keep moving in that direction. I began contacting local newspapers in Central PA to get the word out and get people/groups interested and involved, but Brad Peterson at the Central PA Food Bank said that he’s going to prepare a press release to give to all of their media contacts through their territory (which covers 27 counties – yeah wow), so that will save me time (thanks again Brad). Hopefully people will read about me and want to get involved. If I could get people or church groups or whoever to come out and walk with me for a bit as I walk through their communities that would be awesome. It would help increase awareness for my cause. and possibly funding. It would also be nice to have people to keep me company in general and it would be really awesome if it appears in the papers soon enough and people reading contact me to offer to let me stay with them.
Things on the donations/fundraising front are also progressing, though again not as quickly as I would like. I am really excited and encouraged by the amount of people I have been able to speak to about my walk and their response to my walk. This has definitely been the highlight of my efforts so far. I have spoken to people at my synagogue and local YMCA (where I work) and have left information in both places. Everyone I spoke to at these places were so nice and so supportive it really just made me feel great. I don’t know how many people have/are going to donate as a result but at least I have gotten the word out and shed some light on some of the most serious problems facing our community. And maybe hearing about what I’m doing will motivate them to do something positive too. That would be awesome.
So it’s been great getting out and talking to people. The really slow and frustrating part has been trying to get in touch with different businesses and getting them involved. I have contact a number of different places about donating shoes and a backpack but still have gotten anywhere. I thought Dick’s Sporting Good’s would be a great option, but the online application process for donation request is so long and complicated I have been able to successfully navigate it yet (it asks for a tax identification number, the markets, regions, and stores affected, % of budget going towards promotion, etc.). It’s frustrating. I feel like if I could just talk to a person things would be so much better. I thought trying to talk to smaller, local, family owned stores about a donation would be better, but they haven’t been much better. I have contacted and emailed a number of them with information but haven’t really heard back from them yet. I remain hopeful though.
Trying to get other, bigger businesses to donate money has been challenging as well. Navigating the long phone systems (press 1 if you’d like to waste another 25 minutes of your life listening to light jazz) of places like PNC Bank can drive a person crazy, but again I remain hopeful. It may take a while but eventually I’ll find the exact right person I need to speak with who will care and be able to help me.
So just know that I am working my hardest and that I will never quit working to make this walk as successful as possible. I am going to keeping knocking on answered doors and leaving voicemails and emails that don’t get returned until I finally get through because of your support and because I know that right now there are thousands of people across the state who are hungry and malnourished, who have inadequate housing and little hope for a better life, yet they keep preserving. I will too.
Please, continue to spread the word and if you can, make a small donation if your in a position too. If you have any ideas, suggestions, advice, or want to get involved please contact me. I need, and very much appreciate, all the help I can get.