Grass Valley Walk-a-thon for Utah’s Place raises $10,500 |

Grass Valley Walk-a-thon for Utah’s Place raises $10,500

The Long Walk, a benefit for Hospitality House, starts at Utah's Place int his 2014 archive photo. Marybeth Paul and Nory Fussell carrying the banner and the walkers in back of them.
The Union file photo | The Union

More than 100 walkers donned red T-shirts and sneakers Saturday in Grass Valley’s Brunswick Basin for a show of solidarity for the area’s homeless population.

“We were out there in our red T-shirts to show that homeless people have a lot of support here, and that it’s not right to stereotype people,” said Joanna Robinson, development director for Hospitality House homeless shelter and organizer of “The Long Walk,” the shelter’s first fundraiser walk-a-thon.

“In the community of homeless people in Nevada County, there are hardly any real panhandlers,” Robinson said. “There are just people, a lot disabled, with children ­— and they’re out there suffering‚ always looking for a bathroom, a drink of water.”

The event, which raised about $10,500 toward shelter operations and housing services, included a walk of 1.8 miles on city streets in the area of Utah’s Place, the 54-bed shelter opened last December on Sutton Way and run by Hospitality House.

Money raised came from walkers who recruited pledges from friends, co-workers and family members, and from the $25 per person entrance fees.

Top individual and group fundraisers won a series of donated prizes, including:

— Most money raised by a group:

First Baptist Church, Grass Valley won 16 tickets to Marine World.

— Most money raised by an individual adult:

Doug Lautzenhiser of Nevada City, with support from co-workers at Telestream software firm in Nevada City, won a $500 gift card for a stay Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge in South Lake Tahoe.

— Largest group:

Briar Patch Co-op, which won two hours of bowling at Prosperity Lanes for 20 people.

— Most money raised by an individual child:

Ian Ridlon of Penn Valley won a $1,000 gift card to visit Disneyland.

About 25 homeless “guests” of Utah’s Place volunteered their help during the race, staffing water stations and directional markers, Robinson said.

Also, guests who are students at Utah’s Place culinary skills training class cooked hot dogs and hamburgers at a barbecue at Utah’s Place after the walk.

Students in the class, which started earlier this year, are now cooking dinner for the shelter residents one night per week, Robinson said.

“I thought it went beautifully,” Robinson said of the walk-a-thon, adding only one caveat about the weather.

“Next year, we’ll move it to later in the year,” she said. “We started at 9 a.m., and by 10 a.m. it was really hot.”

To read Editor Brian Hamilton’s editorial about the homeless, click here.

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email or call 530-477-4239.

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