SPRINGFIELD — The Winter Walk, which raises awareness and funds toward an end to homelessness in Massachusetts, is set to launch its first event in Western Mass. on Sunday, Feb. 5 in Court Square and through downtown Springfield. Registration opens at 9 a.m., with the program and Winter Walk kickoff at 9:30 a.m., ending at 11 a.m.
This outdoor event brings together participants from all walks of life, housed and homeless, to walk together, hear stories from people with lived experience of homelessness, and share coffee and breakfast. All funds raised by walkers goes back to homeless service providers in the region.
The Winter Walk is expanding to Western Mass. after six successful years of walking in Greater Boston, and will honor services and needs in Hampden County in this first year. This short walk (less than two miles) begins and ends on Court Square in downtown Springfield. Participants, housed and homeless, will walk together and hear real stories of the homeless population in Western Mass.
This year’s walk will be hosted by Jackie Bruno, founder and CEO of Newsmaker Marketing, former Miss Massachusetts and former news anchor on WWLP 22 News Springfield and NECN NBC Boston. She is also the founder of the Connect-Her, a free women’s network that uplifts its members through networking, mentoring, and friendship, and champions good work and good causes.
All participants in the Winter Walk are encouraged to donate or fundraise a registration fee of $100 for adults or $50 for youth and students. Registration for this event provides the opportunity to walk, a warm Winter Walk hat, breakfast, live music, a backpack loaded with information and offers from local organizations, and an opportunity to learn and share together. All are welcome to this family-friendly and dog-friendly event.
Winter Walk partners include the Center for Human Development, Clinical & Support Options/Friends of the Homeless, the Mental Health Assoc., Providence Ministries, Springfield Health Services for the Homeless, and the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness. Many other service organizations will also walk in solidarity to support awareness around the issues surrounding homelessness. Winter Walk encourages local businesses, clubs, religious groups, families, friends, and surrounding communities to create a team to walk.