FRIENDS OF THE POOR® WALK/RUN SLATED FOR SEPTEMBER 29
The Fifth Annual Society of St. Vincent de Paul Friends of the Poor Walk/RUN® will be held on Saturday, September 29 at 9 a.m. at Bristol Town Beach.
“Money raised through the walk and run will be used by our non-profit organization to help those in need in local communities,” said President Rita St. Pierre. In 2011, 33 conferences in Rhode Island provided 36,851 hours in volunteer hours to serve more than 67,000 people. “This is our only state-wide fundraiser so we’re encouraging everyone in the community to participate; the number of people that we’re able to help is dependent upon the amount of money we can raise.”
The state’s high unemployment rate and current economic standing has placed an increased demand on counseling and financial aid from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “We’ve received calls from people who used to be our donors,” said St. Pierre. “Poverty doesn’t discriminate. Recipients of St. Vincent de Paul Society aid come from all educational, ethnic, religious and geographic backgrounds.”
Here on Aquidneck Island, the Friends of the Poor Walk and Run will benefit the outreach efforts of the St. Barnabas (Portsmouth), St. Anthony (Portsmouth), Jesus Savior (Newport) and St. Joseph (Newport) conferences of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Each year, hundreds of walkers unite for the Friends of the Poor Walk to help their fellow Rhode Islanders. Under the leadership of walk director and Vincentian Mary Sue Tavares, they walk a three-mile course along the scenic shores of Narragansett Bay and raise tens of thousands of dollars in anticipation of the needs in the coming year. Last year, $30,000 was collected in donations and distributed directly to those in need.
Runners are being invited to join the goodwill effort in 2012. A five-mile, USA Track & Field sanctioned road race will be added to the schedule of events. The race has been charted by Michael Payton, an organizer with 25+ years of regional experience. Olympic gold medalist Janet Moreau Stone of Barrington (Helsinki 1952) will be the official starter of the race which will be marshaled with assistance from the Providence College men's and women's cross country teams under the direction of their coach, Ray Treacy.
The Friends of the Poor Walk and Run will start and finish at the Bristol Town Beach complex, utilizing different routes within Colt State Park. Upon completing their respective courses, all participants will be invited to join their families at the finish where there will be food (Blount Chowder and a cookout) and family activities to include face painting, balloon art and pumpkin decorating.
The events will be presided by Honorary Chair Mark Searles, NBC10 chief meteorologist. CMRK Inc. has generously stepped forward to sponsor the events. Other assistance is being provided by BankNewport, Blount Fine Foods, Carousel Industries, East Providence Lions Club, Lucky’s Bar and Grille, NBC10, Providence College, Ronald J. Resmini Law Offices, The FlatIron Works, Trudeau’s Auto Repair Inc. and W. R. Watson Funeral Home.
Applications for the Friends of the Poor Walk/Run can be downloaded at www.svdpri.org or can be obtained by calling (401) 305-3880. Runners can also register online at www.spitlerracesystems.com. There is no cost to be a walker; however, only participants who raise $25 or more will receive a t-shirt. All runners who register before September 24 will receive a shirt when they pay a $20 registration fee; the cost to register after September 24 is $25 per participant.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization of more than 700,000 people in 140 countries who visit needy people in their homes to provide comfort and financial assistance. For almost 200 years, the members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul have been growing spiritually by offering person-to-person service to others in need.