Everyone wants to stay safe, everyone’s looking for ways to help, and people are spending more time outside walking, running, and walking the dog.  “HomeFront’s Virtual Run / Walk / Dog Walk for Hope lets participants do all three of these things,” says event chair Suki Wasserman.  “People can virtually complete a 10K, 5K, 1 mile walk/run or even a dog walk.  And by doing so they are ensuring HomeFront will have the resources, despite the current crisis, to continue its 6-day per week, year-round Joy, Hopes & Dream’s children’s programs.”

These programs provide very low income and homeless children in the area with life experiences, educational support, nurturing and mentoring that ultimately help them break the cycle of poverty.  One mom whose sons attend said “Joy, Hopes & Dreams gives my boys a safe place to play basketball, they’ve loved learning coding and to swim, and they get to go places, like the skating rink, we can’t afford to take them.  Last year, Chris Marchetti, [the long-time Director of the program], convinced my thirteen year-old who is very shy, to write his own rap song and perform it at a concert the group gave.  It really brought him out of his shell.”  These types of opportunities change the course of the lives of hundreds of local children every year.

To keep HomeFront’s VIRTUAL Run/Walk safe, participants will head out from their own front doors.  To make it communal, runners and walkers can choose to tune into a Facebook live event kick-off on June 7 at 9 a.m. the day of, and create virtual teams with friends, family, or coworkers.

Headline sponsors for many years like ZS Associates, NJM Insurance Group, Church & Dwight, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and Princeton Orthopedic Associates are all participating virtually.  HomeFront’s founder, Connie Mercer, is inviting anyone who’d like to, to  join her team.  The largest virtual team will win a free music concert (post COVID crisis) by the local band, The Hive. There are also prizes for top fundraisers.

To further build the communal spirit of this event, participants will receive “runners bibs” they can wear so passersby know they are out supporting HomeFront.  Runners/walkers can download a playlist made by local bands.  HomeFront is also encouraging participants to take pictures and video themselves when they finish and post them.

“Although we had to go virtual this year,” says Mercer, “the support this event provides is real for the most vulnerable children in our community.   It’s actually life-changing.”  Register at www.homefrontnj.org.