Jun 14, 2023
On Saturday, a group of walkers left St. Christopher's Episcopal Church for the Chatham Lighthouse and looped back.
The group, about 40 people in number, walked as part of this year's Walk For Home. Now in its fifth year, the annual event raises money in support of the Homeless Prevention Council.
And while St. Christopher's has organized a team unofficially in support of the event in the past, this year marked Chatham's first as an official partner in the fundraiser, alongside Provincetown.
"We can be the place where the walk starts hopefully for a long time to come," said Wendy Reveri of Orleans, an HPC board member who walked with the St. Christopher's team again this year.
The church's support of the program started modestly in 2021, Reveri said. That year, five parishioners in Provincetown and eight children and their parents in Chatham walked for St. Christopher's in support of the event. Participation through the church grew to about 30 walkers between the two towns as part of last year's event, she said.
This year, efforts were made to officially include Chatham in the event as a partnering town. The town's select board supported the request.
"This is a very supportive town, and they've officially incorporated us now as a partner," said Margaret Frondorf, the council's development director. "We're thrilled with that."
Frondorf said 134 walkers participated in Saturday's event, including 64 in Chatham. As of Monday, $51,236 had been raised between the two towns, just shy of the event's overall fundraising goal of $60,000.
"We'll continue to accept donations," Frondorf said in an email Monday.
St. Christopher's, meanwhile, is matching donations made through its walking team in this year's event. Reveri said the money comes from the church's outreach fund, which is supported in part by proceeds from the church's thrift shop, Uncommon Thrift.
Frondorf credits Sotheby's International Realty with helping to promote and spread the word about the event in Chatham.
"It's incremental, it's organic and it's growing," she said of the walk. "Chatham has proved that we are indeed growing, and we'll continue to grow each year."
Based in Orleans, HPC works to provide support and services to local people and families who, as
Frondorf put it Saturday, "often live on the financial edge." That includes providing housing assistance among other needs.
"We provide food, gas and clothing or transportation, but most importantly, we guide clients to prioritize keeping a roof over their heads," she said.
The nonprofit has assisted 47,000 clients since its founding in 1991. In 2022, the council provided assistance to more than 2,300 people and helped more than a thousand households stay in their homes, according to figures on the HPC website.
As the need for housing assistance and other services continues to intensify on the Cape, Frondorf said it was inevitable that the walk would expand beyond Provincetown.
"Especially in Chatham, which is a very expensive place to live," she said. "They understand more than anyone that in order to have a vibrant, sustainable community, you need people to live and work there."
Walk For Home is part of a longer tradition of supporting homeless prevention efforts on the Cape dating back decades. Reveri, who chaired last year's Walk For Home, said the Interfaith Council for the Homeless first began organizing walks to raise awareness about and funding for the issue upon its founding in 1992. One of the council's founders and most avid walkers was Reveri's mother, Freddie FitzGerald, who walked for the cause annually for three decades until her death in 2019.
"Part of honoring her memory is doing this," she said of her annual participation with the walk.
Top Fundraising Teams
St. Christopher's Episcopal Church: $6,208
Team Trevison: $4,780
Provincetown School National Junior Honor Society: $4,495
St. Mary of the Harbor: $2,985
Team Freddie: $2,820
Email Ryan Bray at firstname.lastname@example.org