By Abigail Loop
Mission Waco is offering insight into the lives and experiences of homeless Wacoans through the ninth annual Walk for the Homeless.
From 8 – 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Mission Waco Meyer Center, a 1.2-mile walk will have participants stopping at local homeless shelters and food banks.
Jimmy Dorrell, executive director of Mission Waco, said the group of walkers will stop at locations such as Compassion Ministries, Caritas Food Bank and My Brother’s Keeper Homeless Shelter, where participants will receive information on poverty and the resources that are available to fight it.
“We’ll have different speakers at each location,” Dorrell said. “We’ll have a group of mostly middle-income folks who get to the learn the data of why people are homeless and also see where people can get help.”
Dorrell said Mission Waco decided to start this walk when they realized that people didn’t know about poverty or were misinformed.
Jill McCall, executive director of Compassion Ministries, said this walk is all about education.
“We all talk and think we know about poverty but we don’t really,” McCall said. “It’s important to know what’s available for help. We’re going to be talking about the services offered here and how poverty is a large problem.”
Buddy Edwards, executive director of Caritas, a Waco food pantry, also said the walk will be a learning experience for the community.
“It’s a great opportunity for the community to understand the nature of homelessness and the needs that come up,” Edwards said. “We will provide information on our services here and the amount of people we serve, as well as give insights to certain situations people face.”
Dorrell said anyone is welcome to attend the free walk and participants are asked to bring is a couple of hygiene or toiletry items to donate to Mission Waco. In addition to donating certain items before the walk, shoes will be given away to the homeless.
“In the past five weeks, we’ve had the homeless sign up to get shoes,” Dorrell said. “People could donate $40 online and that would purchase a pair of shoes. These shoes will be distributed at 8 a.m. to the homeless on the morning of the walk.”
The walk will end with a church service at Church Under the Bridge. Dorrell, who started the church as a Bible study 22 years ago, is the church’s pastor. He will hold a service after the walk to also commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the church.
More information about the walk can be found at missionwaco.org.