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The three things HomeFront realized a month into the pandemic – Everyone wants to stay safe, everyone’s looking for ways to help, and people are spending more time outside walking, running, and walking the dog. 

“HomeFront’s Virtual Run / Walk / Dog Walk for Hope lets participants do all three of these things” says event chair Suki Wasserman. “People can virtually complete a 10K, 5K, 1 mile walk/run or even a dog walk. And by doing so they are ensuring HomeFront will have the resources, despite the current crisis, to continue its 6-day per week, year-round Joy, Hopes & Dream’s children’s programs.”   

These programs provide very-low-income and homeless children in our area the life experiences, educational support, nurturing and mentoring that ultimately help them break the cycle of poverty.  One mom whose sons attend said “Joy, Hopes & Dreams gives my boys a safe place to play basketball, they’ve loved learning coding and to swim, and they get to go places, like the skating rink, we can’t afford to take them. Last year, Chris Marchetti, [the long-time Director of the program], convinced my thirteen- year-old who is very shy, to write his own rap song and perform it at a concert the group gave. It really brought him out of his shell.” 

These types of opportunities change the course of the lives of hundreds of local children every year. To keep HomeFront’s VIRTUAL Run/Walk safe, participants will head out from their own front doors. To make it communal, runners and walkers can choose to tune into a Facebook live event kick-off at 9am the day of and create virtual teams with friends, family, or coworkers. Headline sponsors for many years like ZS Associates, NJM Insurance Group, Church & Dwight, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and Princeton Orthopedic Associates all are participating virtually. 

HomeFront’s founder, Connie Mercer, is inviting anyone who’d like, to join her team. The largest virtual team will win a free music concert (post COVID crisis) by the local band, The Hive. There also are prizes for top fundraisers. To further build the communal spirit of this event, participants will receive “runners bibs” they can wear so passersby know they are out supporting HomeFront. Runners/walkers can download a playlist made by local bands. HomeFront also encourages participants to take pictures and video themselves when they finish and post them.  

“Although we had to go virtual this year,” says Mercer, “the support this event provides is real for the most vulnerable children in our community.   It’s actually life-changing.” 

Register at www.homefrontnj.org

Submitted by HomeFront, which provides emergency shelter with intensive case management and affordable housing for families; tutoring and enrichment programs for children; and life skills and self-advocacy training for adults. Since 1991, the organization has helped homeless families to build lives of self-respect, stability and independence by using a comprehensive and holistic approach to ending homelessness in Central New Jersey. HomeFront has become a sophisticated social service agency able to address material needs for shelter, food, and clothing. It has established effective programs to help parents develop educational, vocational and life skills while also opening the world and all its wonderful possibilities to their children. For more information about how you can help, visit www.homefrontnj,org or call (609)-989-9417×103

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