If there is one word to describe what powers the Father Joe’s Villages’ , it is “community”.
“This event is really about bringing people together to help others,” Kristin Wiggins, Chief Advancement Officer at Father Joe’s Villages shared with GB Magazine. “Each year, community members come together to raise essential funds that provide warm and nourishing meals to San Diegans in need.”
Money raised during the event funds Father Joe’s Villages’ Food Services program, which combats hunger among people experiencing poverty and homelessness by providing warm meals 365 days a year. Last year, the program provided more than 800,0000 meals to hungry neighbors. These meals provide much more than a means of survival for people living on the street or in shelters – they can be a door to a brighter future.
When Pamela, 59, could no longer afford her apartment on a fixed income, she was forced to move into a tent in an empty field. Pamela feared for her health and sought shelter with Father Joe’s Villages, where she was provided with a warm bed and warm meals. “After living in a tent for three years, I felt very lucky to have three good meals a day and not have to deal with hunger pains all the time,” Pamela said.
After having her basic needs met by Father Joe’s Villages, Pamela was able to focus on overcoming homelessness. Since then, she has secured employment, moved into an apartment of her own, and found peace after years of fear, desperation and hunger. “Being homeless was such a horrifying experience for me – especially becoming homeless in my late 50s,” Pamela said. “You’re starving all the time. Everything is hard when you’re homeless.” This Thanksgiving, Pamela will be able to cook her own holiday meal in her new apartment’s kitchen.
In addition to food and shelter, Father Joe’s Villages‘ comprehensive services also include medical care, behavioral health care, employment services and more. The housing and food service programs often become a gateway to these other services. “Ultimately, the goal of the Thanksgiving Day 5K is to raise money to help people,” shared Wiggins. “But the event itself is also about building community and bringing people together to have fun on Thanksgiving morning – all while raising awareness for a great cause.”
The Thanksgiving Day 5K features an optional pre-race Catholic Mass and a post-race festival, including a beer garden, live music, kids’ activities and pictures with Santa.
“It is also very accessible,” Wiggins said. “All ages are able to walk or run the route through Balboa Park. Every year, we have families who bring their children, their relatives from out of town, and even their four-legged friends.”
In other words, there is no better way to spend Thanksgiving morning than giving back with your family and furry friends.
During this season of giving and plenty, give back and make an impact on those most in need in our community. Get 15% off when you sign up using promo code GBMAG22.
Visit www.my.neighbor.org/5k to sign up today.