A contingent from CHD participated in the inaugural Winter Walk Western Mass. on February 5, a two-mile walk through downtown Springfield and a joyful celebration of empathy.
Winter Walk’s mission is to raise voices towards advocacy and action—along with funds—towards ending homelessness, and to support organizations in Massachusetts that are working on prevention, support, and care for our homeless community. As a partner, CHD’s shelter programs will benefit directly from the proceeds raised.
The walk, which culminated in a community breakfast, is purposely held during the coldest month of the winter—one of the most difficult times of the year to be homeless.
“I think it’s amazing to see all these people coming together to put the issue of homelessness on the map here in western Massachusetts,” said CHD Vice President of Community Engagement Ben Craft. “There’s a lot of really positive energy here today on a bright, sunny morning, and let’s hope it translates into real funding, action, and results to get more people in permanent housing in western Massachusetts and beyond.”
It was a clear, brisk day, and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno reminded those in attendance how tough the previous two days of record-breaking cold must have been for the homeless. “Today we walk to send a message that there is hope out there,” he said. “There is opportunity. There is help for those in need. And to each and every one of you to come out here on this chilly Sunday morning in beautiful, historic Court Square to send that message—thank you for your continued belief and investment in the human spirit.”
On the stage, Harvey McNulty shared his story of lived experience with homelessness. Jackie Bruno, founder/CEO of Newsmaker Marketing, was the host of Winter Walk Western Mass. The former evening anchor at WWLP-22News remarked how happy she was to be back in Springfield that day. “Springfield, like a lot of Massachusetts cities and communities, is struggling with a homeless population that needs assistance in the forms of housing, food, and medical or mental health assistance,” she said. “By joining the Winter Walk, you’re directly raising money to help this issue and raising awareness about the need, which is great.”