Action Ministries-Gainesville Community Walk
What: A walk to raise funds and awareness for Gainesville's homeless and poverty-stricken community
When: Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., walk begins at 9 a.m. today
Where: Action Ministries-Gainesville headquarters, 1 First St., Gainesville
From his desk at the Action Ministries-Gainesville office, Steve Napier sees the perils of poverty first hand as clients come in struggling to pay their rent or keep the electricity on.
Their stories are harrowing, Napier said. And unfortunately, many in Gainesville aren't able to truly understand their problems the way he can as the nonprofit program director.
Today, Action Ministries will hold a community walk to bring awareness to the struggles of Gainesville's homeless and poverty-stricken community.
The event begins and ends at the nonprofit's headquarters at 1 First St. in Gainesville.
Action Ministries-Gainesville tries to prevent homelessness by providing help with rent or utilities, food an clothing assistance and life counseling.
The group works with a referral system of 20 local churches.
"Typically people in need go to churches and the churches will refer those people to us and we address the issues ourselves," Napier said.
Participants in the walk can secure pledges for the nonprofit. The first 150 walkers who raise $25 will receive a T-shirt.
Napier said even those who aren't able to pledge financial support are invited to attend.
The group holds an annual golf tournament, but this is the first time it has held a community walk.
Napier said the event is meant to raise awareness of the community Action Ministries serves.
"We see loss of jobs. We see a lot of where people were living on the edge before the economy went bad and they don't have the education or the job skill set to find another job," he said.
Napier said he hopes the walk will become an annual event, which will grow over time.
"It's something to build on," he said. "I hope that in a few years it's something that we'll have lot of people out for."