The fifth annual Society of St. Vincent de Paul Friends of the Poor Walk/Run will be held on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 9 a.m. at Bristol Town Beach.
“Money raised through the walk and run will be used by our non-profit organization to help those in need in local communities,” said society president Rita St. Pierre. “This is our only state-wide fund-raiser so we’re encouraging everyone in the community to participate; the number of people that we’re able to help is dependent upon the amount of money we can raise.”
This year’s event will benefit those in need across the state, and the East Bay, including those helped by the following church parishes: St. Martha’s (East Providence), St. Mary’s (Bristol), St. Brendan’s (East Providence) St. Mary of the Bay (Warren), St. Anthony (Portsmouth) and St. Barnabas (Portsmouth).
In 2011, 33 conferences in Rhode Island provided 36,851 hours to serve more than 67,000 people.
The state’s high unemployment rate and current economic standing has reportedly placed an increased demand on counseling and financial aid from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
“We’ve received calls from people who used to be our donors,” said St. Pierre. “Poverty doesn’t discriminate. Recipients of St. Vincent de Paul Society aid come from all educational, ethnic, religious and geographic backgrounds.”
Each year, hundreds of walkers unite for the Friends of the Poor Walk to help their fellow Rhode Islanders. Under the leadership of walk director and Vincentian Mary Sue Tavares, they walk a 3-mile course along the scenic shores of Narragansett Bay and raise tens of thousands of dollars in anticipation of the needs in the coming year.
Last year, $30,000 was collected in donations and distributed directly to those in need.
Runners are being invited to join the goodwill effort in 2012. A 5-mile, USA Track & Field sanctioned road race will be added to the schedule of events.
The race has been charted by East Bay resident Michael Payton, an organizer with more than 25 years of regional experience.
Olympic gold medalist Janet Moreau Stone of Barrington (Helsinki 1952) will be the official starter of the race which will be marshaled with assistance from the Providence College men’s and women’s cross country teams under the direction of their coach, Ray Treacy.
The Friends of the Poor Walk and Run will start and finish at the Bristol Town Beach complex, utilizing different routes within Colt State Park. Upon completing their respective courses, all participants will be invited to join their families at the finish where there will be food (Blount Chowder and a cookout) and family activities to include face-painting, balloon art and pumpkin decorating.
Mark Searles, NBC10 chief meteorologist, will serve as honorary chairman of the event.
Friends of the Poor Walk/Run
When: Saturday, Sept. 29 at 9 a.m.
Where: Bristol Town Beach
Applications: Download one at www.svdpri.org or call 305-3880
Register: Online at www.spitlerracesystems.com.
Cost: There is no cost to be a walker; however, only participants who raise $25 or more will receive a t-shirt. All runners who register before Sept. 24 will receive a shirt when they pay a $20 registration fee; the cost to register after Sept. 24 is $25 per participant.