Taking a creative approach to fundraising during a health crisis, Hope's Corner, downtown Mountain View's meal program for homeless and low-income individuals, is hosting a virtual 5K fundraising event to keep up with the cost of serving food.
Event organizers are requesting a modest $5 donation to reach a $5,000 fundraising goal, and encouraging participants to choose their own way to complete the 5-kilometer adventure. It can be a walk, a run, a swim, a bike ride or a kayaking trip, and participants are encouraged to post photos of the 5K over social media.
"Participants can walk their dog around the neighborhood, hike at Rancho San Antonio, bike on the Bay Trail, or do whatever 5K activity they want," according to a statement by the nonprofit. "One participant kayaked in the San Francisco Bay, while another rollerbladed backwards in a parking lot. Yet another walked a route that spells "Hope."
Hope's Corner has been an increasingly important resource for homeless, low-income and other vulnerable residents in the area, starting out as a Saturday meal program operated in Trinity United Methodist Church, but recently expanding to provide showers and laundry services. The nonprofit has since expanded meal services to include a Wednesday to-go lunch as well as offsite meal delivery to day workers and people living in vehicles. The meal service expansion was a direct response to rising unemployment and financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic and public health prohibitions.
Total meals served have now spiked to over 500 per week, more than double what was provided back in January before COVID-19 gripped the region. Laundry and shower services have been discontinued due to health and safety concerns.
Trouble is, those same public health restrictions that caused the job losses also made it untenable to host crowded in-person fundraising events, nixing Hope's Corner's "Tour De Hope" cycling and spin event — something that typically raises about $5,000. The virtual 5K is meant to be a workaround with a flexible date, lasting from July 5 to Aug. 5.
Anyone participating in the 5K is encouraged to recruit five more people to join in. Those donating more than $125 get a T-shirt from Hope's Corner.